Edinburgh bounce back with victory over Ulster
Edinburgh bounced back from last week's disappointing defeat to Zebre with a 28-17 Guinness PRO12 victory over Ulster at BT Murrayfield.
The hosts were evidently desperate to atone for the previous week's shock defeat and by half-time had established a 21-3 advantage through tries from Villiame Mata and Damien Hoyland, a conversion from Jason Tovey and a penalties from Blair Kinghorn and Duncan Weir (2).
Magnus Bradbury then crossed after the interval with Tovey adding a second conversion.
Ruan Pienaar kicked a first-half penalty for Ulster before converting second-half tries from Aaron Cairns and Jacob Stockdale and adding a penalty.
With two minutes on the clock, Tovey almost sidestepped his way through the Ulster defence and when he was thwarted, Sean Kennedy fed the ball back to Mata, who crashed through two tackles to touch down and Tovey converted.
The hosts continued to dominate and claimed a second try of the evening after nine minutes. Mata was again involved and when he was foiled, Kinghorn was hauled down just short but Hoyland was alert to the opportunity and picked up to plunge over.
Tovey failed with the conversion attempt, but the momentum remained with Edinburgh and Kinghorn added three more points with a sweetly struck long-range penalty in the 16th minute.
Ulster had been infrequent visitors to the home half but with 24 minutes played they earned a penalty 30 metres out and Pienaar was on target to get them on the board.
Weir, who had just come on as a temporary replacement for Tovey, responded almost immediately, rifling a penalty between the sticks from close range.
The replacement's next involvement was to have a kick charged down. But fortunately Kinghorn raced back to avert the danger as the ball ricocheted over the Edinburgh line.
Weir shrugged off that error to make another positive contribution when he added three more points to complete the first-half scoring.
Ulster made a lively start to the second period but handling errors and one bone-juddering tackle by Kinghorn prevented the visitors from capitalising on their spell in charge.
And the home side capitalised on that failure seven minutes into the half when Cornell Du Preez broke from a scrum inside the Edinburgh half and fed Kennedy. He in turn released Mike Allen whose pass set Bradbury free for an impressive try which Tovey converted.
Ulster responded with a powerful surge from Tommy Bowe who was held up over the line by Du Preez. The visitors thought they had clawed back five points when Charles Piatau raced onto a clever chip by Pienaar. However, to the displeasure of the Irish contingent in the 5,336 crowd, the referee ruled that he had not controlled the ball as he touched down.
Edinburgh defended well for the next 10 minutes but their luck eventually ran out when Paul Marshall chipped ahead and Cairns outmuscled Tovey to pluck the ball out of the air and touch down. Pienaar's conversion cut the deficit to 18 points.
The Irishmen gave themselves a glimmer of hope - at least of a four-try bonus if not a win - with eight minutes to play when Stockdale raced onto a flip pass from Rob Herring and darted in for a try which Pienaar again converted.