Impressive Ulster blow Edinburgh away to secure home playoff
Edinburgh 7 Ulster 29
Ulster produced an inspired performance to overwhelm Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield tonight with a bonus point win that gives the northern province a home play-off game in the knock-out stage of the Guinness Pro14.
This was a committed display by Ulster undoubtedly influenced by the return of man-of-the-match Iain Henderson, who seemed galvanise the Ulster forwards into a full eighty minute effort. Behind the scrum Ulster’s quick engaging defence simply asphyxiated the the Edinburgh attack.
Ulster looking determined to restore their reputation after a roasting from Glasgow last weekend soon proved their point, their dynamic start that featured powerful surges from Stuart McCloskey and Jacob Stockdale was rewarded with a penalty goal by John Cooney.
The visiitors quickly piled more pressure on Edinburgh and this time it was a clever kick from Stockdale and a swift follow-up that put the home side in trouble ending with Jordi Murphy bursting over from close range and Cooney converting.
Edinburgh missed a chance for points when their out half Jaco Van der Welt saw the ball rebound off the upright from a penalty attempt. Thereafter save for a brief attack by Edinburgh triggered by the powerful Pierre Schoeman, Ulster took control of the first half and fittingly provided the only other score of the opening period, a try by wing Robert Baloucoune from a long looping pass by Billy Burns for a 15-0 interval lead.
Ulster’s dominance continued in the second half against an Edinburgh side that appeared to have few tactical ideas. Inevitably Ulster’s growing confidence produced another score and this time it was crisp handling the involved Burns and Stockdale that put wing Rob Lyttle in for his side’s third try converted from the touchline by Cooney.
Edinburgh finally made the breakthrough they had sought with a score that cam from patient handling that ended with replacement John Barclay dummying his way over for a try converted by fellow sub Simon Hickey.
But in a final assault on the Edinburgh line Ulster grabbed their fourth try from powerful forward play that demolished the Edinburgh defence then swift transfer of the ball that allowed Burns to cruise over for the score, Cooney adding the conversion to seal an important win.
Scorers Edinburgh Tries Barclay Cons Hickey Pens Ulster Tries Murphy, Baloucoune, Lyttle, Burns Cons Cooney (3) Pen Cooney
Edinburgh: D Graham; D Hoyland (G Taylor 44), M Bennett, M Scott, D Van der Merwe; J Van der Welt (S Hickey 32), H Pyrgos (C Shiel 63); P Schoeman (A Dell ), S McInally (R Ford 68), WP Nel (S Berghan 45); G Gilchrist, B Toolis (C Hunter-Hill 68), M Bradbury (J Barclay 49), H Watson, V Mata.
Ulster: J Stockdale P Nelson 15); R Baloucoune (A Kernohan 50), L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; B Burns, J Cooney (D Shanahan 78); E O’Sullivan (A Warwick 73), R Herring (J Andrew 78), M Moore (R Kane 9), I Henderson, K Treadwell (A O’Connor ), N Timoney (S Reidy 67), J Murphy, M Coetzee
Referee N Owens (WRU)