4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
The sides were locked level at 3-3 when the tension spilled over with Scarlets full-back Liam Williams and Andrew Trimble both seeing yellow for an off-the-ball incident.
But Ulster kicked on after that with Bowe beating fellow Lion George North to score out wide, and Diack, part of an increasingly dominant Ulster pack, finishing off a fine drive from a close-in lineout in the same left corner.
Prop Tom Court piled over for the third try with just 43 minutes on the clock to effectively seal the Scarlets' fate, although the Llanelli outfit gained some consolation with late tries from replacements Gareth Davies and Sione Timani.
There was no denying the Ulstermen though as they qualified for the May 25 final on a night when their Belfast ground's famous old grandstand, which has stood since 1924, was filled for a final time.
Demolition work on the stand will begin next week as Ulster's multi-million redevelopment of Ravenhill enters its next phase.
Owen Williams, who replaced late withdrawal Rhys Priestland, swapped penalties with Pienaar in an opening seven minutes that saw play switch swiftly into either half.
Early errors were evident with neither side able to establish any rhythm, before PRO12 and IRUPA Player of the Year Nick Williams thankfully lifted the standard with a fine poach and penalty win.
Court matched him in terms of his physicality in the tackle and although the Scarlets forwards carried well, Owen Williams knocked a kickable 17th minute penalty wide off the right hand post.
Ulster bared their teeth in attack when Jared Payne blazed through midfield, kicking wide for Bowe to chase with George North shepherding him as the ball went into touch.
Tempers flared in the next phase of play with Liam Williams and Trimble clashing at a ruck, and referee Alain Rolland sin-binned the pair for throwing punches.
Ulster maintained their presence in the Scarlets 22 despite having a penalty reversed, and the pressure eventually told in the 25th minute.
From a lineout maul, the Ulster forwards rumbled on with Williams and man-of-the-match Rory Best drawing in defenders. Pienaar switched play to the left where Bowe managed to cut past North, the final defender, to score the opening try.
Pienaar's conversion drifted in at the last moment to move the Ulstermen seven points clear, just reward for a productive attacking spell.
The South African missed a right-sided penalty on the half hour mark, but Ulster continued to dictate the play approaching the interval.
The dynamic Diack put in a succession of carries and his back row colleague Williams memorably swatted away Phil John as the hosts kept hold of the momentum.
They struck for try number two when Rob Herring, who filled in while Best received treatment, combined with captain Johann Muller to launch a lineout maul from which Diack got the touchdown for 15-3.
Pienaar was unable to convert this time, however he added a three-pointer in injury-time after some excellent close-quarter work from Chris Henry and Williams and a ground-gaining scrum.
Mark Anscombe's men kept their foot on the gas at the start of the second period. Trimble swooped on a bouncing ball in Scarlets territory as the hosts hunted for another try.
They used a five-metre scrum to send Darren Cave through on a fine diagonal run. He was stopped just short of the try-line but from the ensuing ruck, Court picked up and crashed over past two defenders with television match official Jim Yuille confirming the score.
Pienaar added the extras to put 22 points between the sides and with Cave now impressing regularly with ball in hand and the Ulster forwards maintaining a high work-rate, the visitors were struggling to make any impact.
However, an untimely rain shower and a series of injury stoppages, with Ken Owens requiring a stretcher and George Earle nursing an apparent concussion, broke up the pattern of play again.
Although hampered by a lengthening injury list, Simon Easterby's charges knuckled down and a terrific solo try from reserve scrum half Gareth Davies on the hour mark, converted by Owen Williams, gave a glimpse of their quality.
Davies did very well to evade three Ulster defenders from a midfield lineout and he jinked away from the covering Paul Marshall, who slotted in at scrum half with Pienaar moving to number 10, to raid in behind the posts.
Pienaar replied with an immediate penalty, awarded after Johan Snyman took Trimble out off the ball, as Ulster stamped out any thoughts of a Scarlets comeback.
Ulster's tenacity in defence was thoroughly tested in the closing stages as the Scarlets enjoyed a concerted spell of possession and territory. They conjured up a 79th minute try through Timani who took a quick tap and sneaked over from a few metres out.
Williams tapped over the conversion to leave the final margin at 11 points, the home victory putting Ulster just 80 minutes away from their first league title since 2006 - they will face either Leinster or Glasgow Warriors in the decider at the RDS.
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|
|Scarlets Score Card|