Belfast Telegraph

RaboDirect Pro12: Ulster 38 Edinburgh 16

Ulster kept themselves in the race for the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs by chalking up their fifth win from their last six league games against an under-strength Edinburgh outfit.

Sep Visser drew first blood with the opening try for Edinburgh after only four minutes, but the home side soon overpowered their visitors and had established a 21-8 advantage by the interval before going on to claim a convincing victory.

Paul Marshall, Stefan Terblanche, Adam D'Arcy, Chris Cochrane, Ian Humphreys all touched down for Ulster, with a penalty try and four conversions from South African fly-half Ruan Pienaar making up their points.

Tim Visser also scored a late try for Edinburgh, with Phil Godman kicking two penalties.

With five games left, Ulster now go into the league's two-week break in good shape after notching up another bonus-point win. For Edinburgh, though, the result marked a sixth straight league defeat.

The Scottish side were out of the blocks early and showed an intent to play with width, which seemed to catch Ulster napping and directly led to Sep Visser being worked clear on the right to cross for the game's first try.

Godman missed the tricky conversion and then Pienaar did the same with Ulster's first scoring chance with a sixth-minute penalty shot.

But the home side struck next with a wonderfully-taken try which came after Craig Gilroy decided to end a period of aerial ping-pong by running out of his own 22. Pienaar's long pass put D'Arcy into some space and then took the return, drew the cover and fed Marshall.

The Ulster scrum-half stepped inside the last tackler to score at the posts, giving Pienaar the easy extras to put Ulster in the lead 7-5.

With the home side now firmly in control it was little surprise that they scored again, this time the forwards churning their way towards the posts with John Afoa's pass opening up the chance which Terblanche took even though referee Nigel Owens sought out the TMO for confirmation.

Pienaar then kicked an excellent conversion which put Ulster 14-5 up.

The home team could have scored twice in quick succession soon after but butchered both chances, though the next one was nailed after Marshall broke free down the blindside wing of an Ulster scrum near their own line just after Tom Brown had nearly scored from a Godman cross-kick.

The net result was another sweeping move down the pitch and Pienaar's inside pass put D'Arcy over under the posts with the South African's formality of a conversion taking it to 21-5, though Edinburgh did reply on the stroke of half-time through a Godman penalty.

Godman slotted another penalty straight after the restart to cut Ulster's lead to 10 points, but the game was then halted for five minutes as Ulster replacement Michael McComish was carried off on a stretcher.

From the restart, though, Ulster were awarded a penalty try after several scrums under Edinburgh's posts and the bonus-point score was also converted by Pienaar, taking the score to 28-11.

But Ulster were not finished yet and replacement Cochrane got over for the home side's fifth try after they quickly moved a penalty on Edinburgh's line, although Pienaar was wide with the conversion.

With the win well secured, Edinburgh's Tim Visser made it over in the left corner with the TMO being consulted and awarding the score which Godman failed to convert.

But Ulster had the final say as Humphreys got over in the right corner in the game's last play, with Pienaar's conversion hitting the post and staying out.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph