Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Ulster edge Zebre in close-fought match

Niall O'Connor scored 17 points - including a late conversion - to win the game for Ulster
Niall O'Connor scored 17 points - including a late conversion - to win the game for Ulster
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.The big t-shirt of Ulster supporters in memory of Nevin SpenceMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy. The big t-shirt of Ulster supporters in memory of Nevin Spence
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Fitzpatrick in action with Zebre CastagnoliMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Andrew in action with Zebre OdieteMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters O'Connor Mandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters O'Connor Mandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Fitzpatrick in action with Zebre CastagnoliMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne in action with Zebre HalangahuMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Afoa in action with Zebre CastagnoliMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
RaboDirect Pro12, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma, Italy 18/11/2012Zebre vs UlsterUlster's Niall O'ConnorMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Francesca Soli
RaboDirect Pro12, Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma, Italy 18/11/2012Zebre vs UlsterUlster's Niall O'ConnorMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Francesca Soli
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Williams in action with Zebre TripodiMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne and Allen in action with Zebre OdieteMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne and Allen in action with Zebre OdieteMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Williams in action with Zebre TripodiMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Zebre players celebrate after Van Schalkwyk's tryMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Zebre players celebrate after Van Schalkwyk's tryMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne in action with Zebre AgueroMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters O'Connor Mandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters PayneMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters O'Connor Mandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters PayneMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne in action with Zebre AgueroMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters McComish in action with Zebre SartoMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne in action with Zebre HalangahuMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters supportersMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Allen in action with Zebre PaceMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Fitzpatrick in action with Zebre CastagnoliMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne in action with Zebre AgueroMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters O'Connor Mandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Afoa in action with Zebre ruckMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters McComish in action with Zebre SartoMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Afoa in action with Zebre CastagnoliMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters PayneMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Andrew in action with Zebre OdieteMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Williams in action with Zebre TripodiMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Williams in action with Zebre TripodiMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Payne in action with Zebre HalangahuMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -18th November 2012Rabodirect, Ulster v Zebre, Italy.Ulsters Fitzpatrick in action with Zebre CastagnoliMandatory Credit - Picture by Francesca Soli /Presseye.com

Ulster extended their lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table as a converted penalty try five minutes from time saw them past Italian side Zebre in a 27-25 victory in Parma.

The penalty try was awarded after the home scrum buckled under pressure from Ulster, and Niall O'Connor added the crucial extras to earn the win.

The victory maintained Ulster's 100 per cent start to the 2012-13 campaign, while Zebre are still to even draw a match, though they had the consolation of two bonus points here.

Ulster forged ahead through an O'Connor penalty but Zebre scrum-half Tito Tebaldi touched down after 10 minutes to put the Italians in front.

Two more O'Connor penalties restored Ulster's advantage, but Daniel Halangahu's penalty kick reduced the deficit to one point at half-time.

Halangahu then crossed for a try to put Zebre 13-9 ahead, and although O'Connor kept Ulster in touch the first of two tries for South African Dries van Schalkwyk extended the hosts' lead to 18-12.

Ulster reacted strongly and Paddy Wallace touched down on the right-hand side after good work from Jared Payne, and although O'Connor failed to convert he did strike another penalty to put the visitors two points ahead.

But Zebre did not buckle and Van Schalkwyk claimed his second try as he charged off the back of a retreating Zebre scrum, with Halangahu's extras giving them a 25-20 lead.

At that stage they looked good for victory, but the concession of the penalty try ultimately proved very costly.

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