Iain Henderson keeps Ulster season alive with late try
Ulster's season is very much alive again after Iain Henderson's late try ensured a bonus point win away to Edinburgh in Murrayfield last night.
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The province hadn't won away from home in 2018 before the 32-20 triumph, and went into the game knowing defeat would end their hopes of overhauling Richard Cockerill's side for a PRO14 play-off spot.
But thanks to Henderson's late show of strength, those play-off and Champions Cup hopes have been revived. Henderson's decisive try followed scores from Darren Cave, Charles Piutau and John Cooney, leaving Ulster eight points back with a game in hand.
Having finally broken a three-game losing skid, Ulster assistant coach Dwayne Peel was thrilled to see his side's efforts rewarded with their first win in two months.
"For the squad there's been a lot of hard work but we haven't had the results the last few weeks," said the attack specialist.
"It was good to have a good week's training, a good input from everyone and get the reward for it this time. It's nice to get the win."
Peel added: “It was a team effort and there was some good plays that managed to get us over the line.
“The platform we had was excellent and the defensive effort was good too.
“Credit to the boys.”
Despite the huge morale boost provided by the win, Peel is under no illusions regarding how much work there is still to be done.
Ulster are at home the next two weeks against the suddenly in-form Ospreys of former coach Allen Clarke and then Glasgow Warriors before finishing up against Munster in Thomond Park.
Edinburgh have a tricky fixture list themselves, against Scarlets and Glasgow, but also have one game less to play.
In Ulster’s other battle, they now sit six points ahead of Benetton knowing that at the very least staying ahead of the Italians would ensure a one-game play-off for Champions Cup rugby next season.
“It’s a big couple of weeks ahead,” Peel added.
“It gives us a chance. If we’ve still got a chance going into the last week then it’s exciting at least.
“We have to prepare every week. We’ve been doing that but not getting the results.
“Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it doesn’t.
“We’ve got a couple of games coming up now and it all starts next week with Ospreys.
“The old cliche is taking it one week at a time.
“Ospreys had a good win at home to Connacht so it’s going to be a tough game for us.
“If we prepare as well as we did this week and perform as we did on the pitch, then we’ll give ourselves a chance.
“It’s always nice to play at home.
“It’s been well documented that our away form hasn’t been good this year, and that’s why this win was really important.
“We showed a good steely edge, and apart from the intercept try they got, I thought we were quite dominant in the first-half.
“Edinburgh came back into things in the second-half, so it was lovely to get the bonus point at the end with Hendy.”
Benetton host Dragons this afternoon needing a win to keep the pressure on Jono Gibbes’ side.