Scarlets 21-26 Stormers: Dwayne Peel’s side miss Champions Cup rugby despite impressive performances
The Scarlets failed to secure Welsh Shield and Champions Cup qualification with a last-minute loss to Stormers at Parc y Scarlets.
Needing a win to overtake the Ospreys, tries from Johnny Williams and Ryan Conbeer had them in contention in what was an impressive performance – with scores across the board heading into the final minutes.
However, Dwayne Peel’s side would be denied top-flight European rugby for next season as the Stormers scored on the death to ensure it was the Ospreys who played in the Champions Cup next year.
To add injury to insult, they lost Rhys Patchell and try scorer Williams to injuries before the end of the 80 minutes – casting doubt on either of them touring South Africa with the Country. of Wales this summer.
The Scarlets had started with intention. After just eight minutes they were 10 points from good.
Sam Costelow’s reliable boot had opened their scoring from the tee, before a real quality try stretched them further.
From a lineout in his own half, Gareth Davies reduced the Stormers’ lightning defense to acres of space behind.
Jonathan Davies, who had been overlooked by Wayne Pivac earlier in the week, was the first to do so, before feeding Williams, one of the men selected ahead of him for a place at the Welsh centre, to rush for the first trial.
The visiting side, looking to secure their own status as South Africa’s top team, were quick to fight back. The dangerous Hacjivah Dayimani escaped a few poor tackling attempts to release Leolin Zas with a neat offload.
Despite having Tom Rogers in front of him, the try was a mere formality – Zas wrong-footing the Scarlets full-back to score.
Costelow’s boot kept the Scarlets in front, building a solid first-half lead. However, the opposing team began to regain some control thanks to their relentless carry.
And tries on both sides of the half-time to put them forward.
Evan Roos crashed from close range just before half-time to cut the deficit to two after a series of brutal runs.
Then, just a minute after the break, Ruhan Nel waltzed in after the Scarlets midfielder was caught too close to defend a lineout.
From there, the score slows down a bit – nothing before the hour mark.
However, just before the clock hit 60 minutes, the away team was reduced to 14 as Deon Fourie was booked for a hit on Kieran Hardy. Moments later, the Scarlets and Wales suffered a blow as Patchell, freshly named to a Wales first team in two years, left injured – just minutes after being substituted.
His chances of touring South Africa now look in the balance, as he left the Peel side with center Williams at fly-half for the final quarter.
Despite this disadvantage, the Scarlets kept pushing and relentless pressure saw Conbeer cross to level the scores. However, fortune kicker Liam Williams was unable to add the conversion from the outside. Shortly after, Johnny Williams left for an HIA – allowing Costelow to come back as they pushed for the win.
However, it was the Stormers who had the last laugh – confirming the fate of the Scarlets with a winning try from Nel at the death.
Scarlets: Tom Rogers; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies (captain), Johnny Williams, Ryan Conbeer; Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies; Steff Thomas, Shaun Evans, Javan Sebastian, Tom Price, Jac Price, Aaron Shingler, Josh Macleod, Sione Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Daf Hughes, Phil Price, WillGriff John, Morgan Jones, Tomas Lezana, Kieran Hardy, Rhys Patchell, Joe Roberts.
Stormers: Warrick Gelant; Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Damian Willemse, Leolin Zas; Manie Libbok, Stefan Ungerer; Steven Kitshoff (captain), JJ Kotze, Frans Malherbe, Salmaan Moerat, Marvin Orie, Deon Fourie, Hacjivah Dayimani, Evan Roos.
Replacements: André-Hugo Venter, Brok Harris, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Nama Xaba, Marcel Theunissen, Godlen Masimla, Cornel Smit.
Arbitrator: Sam Grove-White (SRU)
See how the action unfolded below: