Belfast Telegraph

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Saints into semis

Northampton were forced to dig deep before subduing Ulster in a hard-fought 23-13 Heineken Cup quarter-final win at stadium:mk.

The decisive try was delivered by scrum-half Lee Dickson in the 56th minute, but it was a score created by the vision of Ben Foden and Chris Ashton. The England pair swapped passes down the left touchline to clear a path to the whitewash that enabled Saints to reclaim the lead in a finely-poised encounter.

Prop Soane Tonga'uiha crossed in the first half while fly-half Stephen Myler kicked 13 points to secure Saints' return to Milton Keynes for their semi-final against Perpignan.

The tide turned with Dickson's try, but up until that point Ulster had matched the 2008 European Challenge Cup champions blow for blow in a tense encounter.

Roared on by 5,500 supporters in the stadium:mk record crowd of 21,309, the Magners League's second place team reacted wonderfully to conceding an early lead by crossing through Ireland winger Andrew Trimble.

With Simon Danielli a menacing presence on the other wing and Ian Humphreys - who kicked eight points - pulling the strings at fly-half, Ulster looked capable of causing an upset.

Had full-back Adam D'Arcy not dropped the ball with the line at his mercy shortly after Dickson had crossed, it may have been a different story.

But instead they ran out of steam in the final quarter to ensure their first visit to the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup since winning the tournament in 1999 ended in heartache.


From Belfast Telegraph