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Jackson's starring role for Ulstermen

Out-half Paddy Jackson put the disappointment of missing out for Ireland by scoring two tries and making another for Tommy Bowe in Ulster's 26-13 victory over the Scarlets in the PRO12 League at Ravenhill last night.

The home side were cruising at 21-3 until Scarlets' Gareth Davies beat Ruan Pienaar in a foot race to make it 21-10 at the break and then narrowed it further from an Olly Barkley penalty just past the hour mark.

But it was prop Tom Court who secured the bonus-point in the last minute.

Last night also saw Stephen Ferris return to rugby for the first time in 16 months.

U20S MAKE FRENCH SWEAT FOR VICTORY

The Irish U20s came within a whisker of shocking new Grand Slam champions France, losing out 23-13 in the U20 Six Nations in Tarbes last night.

Mike Ruddock's men had to make a good start and they accomplished this with a penalty from out-half Conor McKeon in the fifth minute.

But, the size and strength of the French began to tell as scrum-half Baptiste Serin kicked eight points and hooker Romain Ruffenach barged over for a try in the 27th minute.

Replacement fly-half Ross Byrne slotted a penalty and prop Peter Dooley put Frankie Taggart bursting over for Byrne to tie it up in the 65th minute.

The French hit the front for good from Serin's ice-cool 74th-minute penalty and a converted try in the 80th minute in what was easily Ireland's best performance of the Championship.

BOURKE'S BRACE CAN'T STOP SLAM

Two second-half tries from hooker Gillian Bourke could not prevent France from becoming the Women's Grand Slam winners in Pau last night.

The hosts started quickly in both halves with tries by wing Marion Lievre in the fourth minute and prop Elodie Portaries, fly-half Sandrine Agricole's conversion taking them out to 12-0 in the 42nd minute.

Full-back Niamh Briggs kicked a penalty from wing Alison Miller's excellent break but it was all to no avail as centre Shannon Izar burst over for another try before Bourke twice smashed her way to the line to claw it back to 19-15 at the end.


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