Late Andrew Trimble try secures win for Ulster over Benetton
Ulster Rugby 23 Benetton Rugby 22
Andrew Trimble struck two minutes from time for Ulster as the Kingspan side scraped a 23-22 victory over Benetton.
In a game that looked like it might be going against them, Ulster kept going to the bitter end and broke Italian hearts with their late score, despite the visitors looking the better side.
Benetton actually arrived late to the ground after their team bus was involved in a minor collision, meaning they didn’t get a full warm-up, however, that didn’t stop them starting the better of the two sides and taking an early lead through two Tommaso Allan penalties.
But Ulster hit back in the 18th minute when John Cooney broke off the back of a maul and set away Tommy Bowe, who had the pace to go over in the corner for the try.
Cooney added the conversion and a penalty to extend Ulster’s lead, but Allan struck back with a penalty of his own just before half-time and then put over his fourth of the evening just after the restart to reduce arrears to one.
Then the Italians deservedly took the lead as Paul Marshall, on for his 200th Ulster appearance, put up a box kick that was regathered by debutant Schalk van der Merwe, only for the prop to pass straight to Robert Barbieri who ran it back for the try.
Christian Leali’ifano and Marty Banks exchanged penalties as the visitors continued to dominate proceedings, but ultimately the night would belong to Ulster.
Darren Cave took the ball into contact off first phase from a scrum, setting it up for the rampaging Trimble who crashed over for the game winning try that arguably they didn’t even deserve.
Tries: Bowe, Trimble
Cons: Cooney, Leali’ifano
Pens: Cooney (2), Leali’ifano
Pens: Allan (4), Banks
(15-9) Charles Piutau, Tommy Bowe (Andrew Trimble 74), Louis Ludik, Christian Leali’ifano, Craig Gilroy, Peter Nelson (Darren Cave 53), John Cooney (Paul Marshall 53); (1-8) Callum Black (Schalk van der Merwe 45), John Andrew (Rob Herring 52), Ross Kane (Andy Warwick 52), Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor, Clive Ross (Greg Jones 34), Aaron Hall (Matthew Dalton 70), Nick Timoney.
(15-9) Luca Sperandio, Tommaso Benvenuti, Ignacio Brex, Alberto Sgarbi, Andrea Bronzini (Marty Banks 56), Tommaso Allan (Luca Morisi 64), Giorgio Bronzini; (1-8) Cherif Traoré (Nicola Quaglio 65), Tomás Baravalle (Hame Faiva 56), Giuseppe di Stefano (Alberto de Marchi 40), Alessandro Zanni, Irné Herbst (Federico Ruzza 53), Whetu Douglas, Nasi Manu, Robert Barbieri (Marco Barbini 67).
Sub not used: Luca Crosato.
Yellow card: Andrea Bronzini (30’)
Man of the Match: Tommaso Allan (Benetton)
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland
Belfast Telegraph Digital