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Ulster hit the summit

Ulster moved top of the Magners League after registering their third successive win of the campaign with a 29-21 success over Edinburgh in a pulsating encounter at Ravenhill.

Tries from the returning Andrew Trimble and Ian Whitten plus a penalty fly-half Niall O'Connor gave the home side a 13-6 interval lead, Edinburgh's points coming from the boot of Chris Paterson.

O'Connor extended the lead with a penalty, but Dutch wing Tim Visser crossed to get the Gunners back in the game. O'Connor responded with another penalty and a drop goal and Cave's try put the hosts clear before Ben Cairns got a late score back for the Scottish side.

Ulster had the perfect start when O'Connor cross-kicked to Trimble on the left wing and the ball shot over Mark Robertson's head to fall for the Ireland winger, who then shrugged off a feeble tackle from Roberston and raced clear for the line.

O'Connor missed the tricky conversion but then Edinburgh hit back, four minutes later, after Ulster strayed offside at a ruck under their posts and Paterson obliged with the three pointer. O'Connor was then wide with a long-range penalty before successfully bisecting the posts after Netani Talei was wrapped up and failed to release.

Always looking urgent, Ulster pushed on and the Stephen Ferris nailed Visser in a huge tackle which resulted in a penalty to Ulster, O'Connor put the ball in the corner and the home side suddenly cranked up the gears from the resulting line-out. After surging up the middle with Paul Marshall making ground near Edinburgh's posts, Ferris carried twice before O'Connor's pass put centre Whitten over in the right corner, a score which proved too difficult for O'Connor to convert.

But Ulster's 13-3 lead was shortlived as, from the restart, Edinburgh won a line-out turnover and laid siege to Ulster's line. The end result was Paterson's second penalty, although Scotland's record points scorer was off target with a third attempt at the end of the half.

That miss was punished two minutes after the restart as Ulster put 10 points between the sides with O'Connor's second penalty. But, yet again, Ulster quickly conceded after Trimble threw a loose pass. Edinburgh worked the ball to Visser and, with no room to manoeuvre, the winger surged down the left and beat three tackles to score.

Paterson's conversion reduced Ulster's lead to three points but all Edinburgh's good work was undone when flanker Scott Newlands was sent to the bin for killing the ball and O'Connor put Ulster 19-13 in front. However, any hope of Ulster making the extra man pay were immediately undone as Chris Henry was pinged for coming in from the side and Phil Godman slotted the penalty to again narrow Ulster's lead to three points.

Ulster's response was an O'Connor drop goal to keep them six points to the good and they stretched their lead when centre Cave broke through and made the line. O'Connor added the conversion and, although Cairns smashed through Jamie Smith's tackle for an unconverted score, Edinburgh were unable to avoid a third straight defeat.

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