Wednesday 20 September 2017

Jackson kicks 13 points as Ulster ease to victory over Connacht

Paddy Jackson booted 13 points as Ulster overcame Connacht
Paddy Jackson booted 13 points as Ulster overcame Connacht

Paddy Jackson booted 13 points as Ulster made it back-to-back wins in the Guinness PRO12 with a 23-7 victory over provincial rivals Connacht at a wet and windy Kingspan Stadium.

Jackson knocked in the conversions to tries from Stuart McCloskey and Clive Ross, and added three penalties as Ulster built on their victory over Cardiff three weeks ago.

Ulster, who lost heavily at Clermont in the European Champions Cup five days ago, move into fourth place in the standings following the win.

At the start of both sides' festive programme of derbies, t he home side led 13-0 after a less than memorable opening half which at least saw Les Kiss' side manufacture a rare moment of continuity when McCloskey got over in the corner with Jackson's excellent conversion contributing seven of Ulster's total.

Connacht, who have not won in Belfast since 1960, were unable to replicate their efforts in Europe last week when dramatically defeating Wasps in Galway and only managed a second-half try and conversion from out-half Jack Carty.

After a pretty grim opening 20 minutes full of errors which were understandable on a chilly and windy night with intermittent rain, Jackson got Ulster moving with a penalty after Dave Heffernan had strayed offside at a ruck.

Six minutes later and Ulster produced a sweeping move off an Iain Henderson lineout which ultimately saw McCloskey score in the right corner after a great run by Charles Piutau.

Jackson converted the score from the touchline and Ulster were 10-0 ahead. Then four minutes before the break Jackson landed his second penalty and a pretty scrappy opening 40 minutes ended with Ulster leading 13-0.

Ulster got the first score after the restart when Ross drove over the line after 52 minutes with Jackson's conversion making it 20-0.

But the visitors hit back almost immediately when Carty got over after a break from Matt Healy with Carty then converting his own score.

Then in the 71st minute, Jackson nailed his third penalty after Ulster had won the chance off a scrum and there were no further scores in the game.

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