Thursday 19 April 2018

Late Pienaar heroics deny Dragons

Ulster 25 Dragons 23

Ulster's South African magician Ruan Pienaar's drop-goal deep into injury-time put out the fire of the Dragons in an unbelievable finale to a fairly mundane encounter at Ravenhill.

Piennar did likewise to the Scarlets last month with a 60-metre penalty to grab the spoils, but last night was even more dramatic as Ulster grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.

Ulster were trailing 20-15 when the game entered injury-time -- Nevin Spence and Tommy Seymour having gone over for the hosts, with Jason Tovey, Wayne Evans and Aled Brew touching down for the Welsh side.

Then, replacement Tommy Seymour broke through the Dragons defence to give the returning Darren Cave a try near the posts.

Pienaar converted and everyone thought that was that. But Ulster failed to secure possession from the restart and the Dragons managed to get into position for fly-half Tovey to loft over a drop-goal.

The winner? No way. With the last play of the game, Ulster managed to claim possession from the restart and, with replacement scrum-half Paul Marshall gesticulating to Pienaar to get into the pocket, he duly provided the pinpoint pass for the Springbok to win the game with the last kick of the game.

Ulster -- A D'Arcy (Seymour, 61), C Gaston, N Spence, L Marshall (Cave, 50), G Gilroy, P Jackson (P Marshall), R Pienaar; P McAllister (Young, 71), A Kyriacou, D Fitzpatrick (Fitzpatrick, 60), J Muller (capt), T Barker (Tuohy, 47), C Henry, W Faloon, R Diack (Wannenburg, 60).

Dragons -- M Thomas (Jones, 71); W Harries, A Hughes, P Leach (Riley, 48), A Brew; J Tovey, W Evans; P Price, L Burns, D Way, L Charteris (Capt), A Jones, A Coombs, L Evans, J Bearman (Faletau, 72).

Ref -- J Jones (WRU).

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