Belfast Telegraph

Ulster are well and truly stuffed

By Ciaran Donaghy

Ulster 13 Leinster 30: Two tries from Ireland back row Sean O'Brien ended Ulster's four-game winning streak in all competitions as Leinster ran out easy winners in their Magners League Irish derby at Ravenhill.

Ulster failed to deal with the visitors physicality in the opening quarter and paid the price.

The home side failed to recover from those two early scores and Leinster, who now leap frog Brian McLaughlin's men in the table, will be disappointed they didn't score a fourth try and take all five points.

Young winger, Craig Gilroy’s fifth try in three Magners League games offered Ulster a ray of light near the end but in truth they were outclassed and Leinster should really have notched up a much higher scoreline.

The visitors missed an early opportunity to open the scoring when full back Isa Nacewa pushed a long range penalty wide.

But having dominated the opening exchanges Leinster didn’t take long to make their pressure count and O’Brien went over the line for the first of his double haul with just seven minutes on the clock.

Former Ulster star Isaac Boss invited O'Brien onto a short ball, the No8 came onto it at pace and side-stepped two static Ulster defenders before going under the posts, making Nacewa's conversion a formality.

Leinster repeated the trick on 15 minutes with the same two playing combining again.

Boss threw a dummy at the ruck before side-stepping prop BJ Botha to open up the Ulster defence and he offloaded to O'Brien who had another easy run in under the posts. Nacewa again converted.

Paddy McAllister showed that reputation don't matter to him as he forced a penalty against Irish tight head prop Mike Ross at a scrum and Niall O'Connor, making his first Ulster start since the Glasgow game at the start of October, registered his side’s first points from the resulting kick.

However, Leinster restored their 14 point lead four minutes later with a penalty from Nacewa.

O'Connor landed his second penalty on the half hour mark after Leinster were guilty of playing the ball off their feet in front of the posts.

Leinster had a try disallowed when Shaun Berne broke through a couple of tackles and fed his left winger David Kearney for an easy run in but he was adjudged to have had a foot in touch.

Nacewa then added a third penalty in the final minute of the first half but despite missing another Leinster went in at the break 20-6 in front.

Leinster nearly got a third try when Brian O'Driscoll picked up a pass of in midfield before feeding Shane Horgan on the wing.

Horgan chipped over the defence but speedy Gilroy won the race to get the touch down over the dead ball line.

Ross got the nudge from the resulting scrum and won a penalty which Nacewa knocked over to stretch Leinster's lead to 17 points.

Horgan then finished off a simple move from the backs to score Leinster's third try on 57 minutes.

The visitors worked the ball through the phases before Boss threw a long pass to O'Driscoll, he offloaded to Berne who in turn fed Nacewa and he put Horgan over in the corner, and then went on to land a difficult conversion from a tight angle.

Ulster got their only try on 69 minutes from Gilroy.

Full back Adam D'Arcy and lock Dan Tuohy exchanged passes before the Australian released Gilroy and the youngster showed his pace to notch up yet another try in a remarkable first .

That sparked Ulster into life although the game was long gone and Simon Danielli went close but was forced into touch.

Belfast Telegraph


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