A LATE Ruhan Nel try saw the Scarlets miss out on Heineken Champions Cup qualification as they were beaten 26-21 by the Stormers in Llanelli.

The result means the Ospreys have won the United Rugby Championship’s Welsh Shield and qualified for Europe's top tier competition, the Champions Cup as a result.

Neither of the four Welsh sides entered the final weekend of the regular season able to reach the play-offs but Nel's brace, with Leolin Zas and Evan Roos also touching down for the Stormers, booked the South Africans a home quarter-final. Manie Libbok kicked six points for the visitors.

The Cape Town-based side also collected the South African Shield, as the country's best finishing side in the URC.

Johnny Williams and Ryan Conbeer scored tries for the Scarlets, with Sam Costelow kicking 11 points.

The Scarlets drew first blood through Costelow’s boot before a lovely chip over the top of a blitzing Stormers defence by Gareth Davies was gathered by club captain Jonathan Davies, who put Williams over for a tremendous try.

The Stormers hit back when Hacjivah Dayimani brushed aside a few defenders before putting Zas over for his 11th try of the season – a URC-best figure.

The National Wales: Look what you could have won, Stormers celebrate with their national shield. Picture: Ben Evans/Huw Evans AgencyLook what you could have won, Stormers celebrate with their national shield. Picture: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency

Libbok converted, but Costelow nicked three points back after the visitors conceded a penalty from the breakdown.

The Stormers lay siege to the Scarlets try line in the closing stages of the first half as they attempted to batter the West Walians into submission with their powerful ball carriers.

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A stolen line-out from Aaron Shingler and a turnover from Liam Williams seemed to keep the South African side at bay, but impressive number eight Roos finally broke the Scarlets defence as he powered over from close range.

Libbok converted, meaning the Scarlets held a slender 16-14 lead at the interval.

The Stormers took the lead two minutes into the second half when Nel hit a tremendous angle to score.

Peel’s side tried desperately to get back into the game and very nearly broke the Stormers line when Rhys Patchell surged clear, but Deon Fourie won a crucial penalty at the breakdown. Fourie soon found himself in the sin bin after he received a yellow card for a high tackle on Kieran Hardy.

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The Scarlets kept applying pressure and Conbeer went over for an excellent try. Liam Williams missed the conversion to leave the scores level at 21-21 with eight minutes remaining.

The Scarlets had their opportunities, but Nel ghosted his way over the line at the death to win the game for the Stormers.

Dragons 11 - Lions 21

Earlier on Saturday the hapless Dragons completed their dismal season without winning a game at home as they went down 21-11 to the Lions at Rodney Parade.

Dean Ryan’s side drew 13-13 with Benetton in January but lost all their other matches at their Newport home, with only victories at Connacht and the Scarlets to cheer.

They led 11-7 at half-time of this final instalment of the campaign after a 25th-minute try by right wing Rio Dyer and two penalties from fly-half Will Reed.

And the home side were reasonable value for their advantage having enjoyed the bulk of territory and possession throughout the opening 40 minutes.

But the Lions were always in touch after a well crafted try by Edwill van der Merwe in the 34th minute and always looked as though they might make their extra bulk tell as the game wore on.

The National Wales:  Ruan Venter of Emirates Lions hands off a Dragons player on the way to scoring a try. Picture: Gruffydd Thomas/Huw Evans Agency Ruan Venter of Emirates Lions hands off a Dragons player on the way to scoring a try. Picture: Gruffydd Thomas/Huw Evans Agency

Early second-half tries from lock Ruan Venter and tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer, both converted by fly-half Jordan Hendrikse, eventually put the visitors ahead.

The Dragons, eager to give their fans something to cheer, did rally for the final quarter.

Centre Josh Lewis thought he had claimed a try 12 minutes from the end of time when he intercepted a pass and sprinted clear.

But referee Joy Neville consulted the TMO and the score was correctly ruled out for a failure to ground the ball, with Lewis’ stumble just yards from the line proving costly.

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The Dragons were weakened, with Welsh international forwards Ross Moriarty, Ben Carter, Leon Brown, Aaron Wainwright and Will Rowlands all missing.

But still there was a sense that their home faithful were glad to see the final curtain come down on a nightmare campaign.

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