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Classy Bath sink Ulster

By Ciaran Donaghy

Ulster 14 Bath 26: Ulster lost their first pre season game to Bath as the Premiership side out-scored their hosts by four tries two two at Ravenhill.

More worrying than the result for coach Brian McLaughlin was that a couple of injuries were picked up for a side that was already missing it's summer tourists and BJ Botha who is on Tri-Nations duty with South Africa.

Prop Bryan Young was a late withdrawal before the game while scrum half Paul Marshall was forced off after just 21 minutes.

In the second half prop Paddy McAllister was forced off.

The bright spark on the night for Ulster was the performance of new boy Pedrie Wannenburg.

He forced an early penalty with a strong run but Ian Humphreys failed to put the home side in front as he dragged his kick wide.

Humphreys had a chance to redeem himself with a second penalty attempt but mis-hit the ball.

The game came to life on 18 minutes when Mark McCrea got the opening try.

As Bath tried to move the ball McCrea picked off a pass on his own 22 and raced the length of the pitch to go under the posts and Humphreys converted.

However the English side kept the pressure up and were rewarded with a try from hooker Ross Batty on 36 minutes.

Ulster had lock Tim Barker sin binned for not rolling away from the tackle and from the penalty Bath moved the ball wide and Batty went over in the corner with out half Sam Vesty converting.

The visitors took the lead in first half injury time as Matt Banahan smashed through a couple of tackles, following clean lineout ball that was moved into midfield, to go under the posts and Vesty's conversion meant Ulster trailed 14-7 at the break.

Banahan was yellowed carded 15 minutes into the second half for not rolling away in the tackle but Bath were able to turn over the Ulster scrum and clear their lines.

The Premiership side scored a third try through Olly Barkley on 64 minutes despite their numerical disadvantage.

As the Ulster defence drifted to deal with an overlap on the right wing, Barkley threw a dummy and squeezed over from close range before converting.

Bath scored a fourth try through replacement Jack Cuthbert, who broke through some poor tackling and then threw an dummy which the hold defence bought before going over but Vesty missed the conversion.

Darren Cave should have got Ulster's second try after Humphreys released him from defence but he was hauled down close to the line, but the ball was kept alive and worked through a number of phases before winning a penalty.

Wannenburg took it quickly and barged over from close range with Humphreys converting.

ULSTER: J Smith; M McCrea, D Cave, I Whitten, T Seymour; I Humphreys, P Marshall; P McAllister, N Brady, D Fitzpatrick, T Barker, J Muller (Capt); P Wannenburg, W Faloon, R Diack. Subs: I Porter for P Marshall 21mins; N O’Connor for Smith; N McComb for J Muller half time; A Macklin for D Fitzpatrick and A Kyriacou for N Brady 62mins; T Court for P McAllister 62mins; TJ Anderson for W Faloon, N Spence for T Seymour 67mins.

BATH: N Abendanon; M Carraro, S Hape, O Barkley, T Biggs, S Vesty, M Claassens; D Flatman, R Batty, D Bell, S Hooper, D Grewcock, S Taylor, L Moody, L Watson. Subs: M Banahan for S Hape 21mins; B Skirving for S Hooper 33mins; L Mears for D Flatman, N Catt for R Batty, D Wilson for D Bell, A Beattie for S Taylor, M McMillan for M Claassens, J Boussuge for M Carraro, (all half time); J Ovens for L Moody 48mins; J Cuthbert for N Abendanon 53mins; S Hooper for D Grewcock 56mins.

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