Monday 20 January 2020

Nikora settles local dispute

Connacht 26
Ulster 21

Gavin Duffy, Connacht, with support from team-mate Henry Fa'afili, goes over to score his side's second try
Gavin Duffy, Connacht, with support from team-mate Henry Fa'afili, goes over to score his side's second try

JOHN FALLON

Connacht brought high-flying Ulster back down to earth when they secured their first win over them since 2005 in a Pro12 clash at the Sportsground yesterday evening.

Both sides had two men sin-binned during a fiery contest with Ulster coming from behind to lead 16-13 at the interval. Miah Nikora got Connacht off the mark with a penalty after three minutes and then skipped through to score what was only his second try ever for Connacht five minutes later.

The loss of Brett Wilkinson and Ray Ofisa disrupted Connacht but Ian Humphreys had a nightmare, missing three kicks before Paddy Jackson took over and landed three as well as converting a Paul Marshall try.

In between, Kyle Tonetti put in Gavin Duffy to score his fourth try of the campaign after half an hour. A superb offload by John Muldoon sent Tiernan O'Halloran away for a try down the right to edge Connacht back in front three minutes after the restart. But Connacht were unable to push on from there and Jackson restored Ulster's lead when he got over for his second try of the season after 54 minutes. Nikora edged Connacht back in front with a penalty 20 minutes from the end and then made the game safe with another in the 74th minute.

Scorers -- Connacht: Nikora try, 3 pens, con; Duffy, O'Halloran tries. Ulster: Jackson try, 3 pens, con; Marshall try

Connacht: G Duffy; T O'Halloran, K Tonetti, H Fa'afili (E Griffin 55), F Vainikolo; M Nikora, F Murphy (P O'Donoghue 70); B Wilkinson (D Buckley 10), E Reynecke, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, R Ofisa (J O'Connor 13), G Naoupu

Ulster: S Terblanche; I Whitten, N Spence, P Jackson, A D'Arcy; I Humphreys (C Gilroy 54), P Marshal (R Pienaar 36); P McAllister (C Black 68), N Brady (A Kyriacou 68), T Court (A Macklin 54); L Stevenson, N McComb (I Henderson 74); M McComish, W Faloon, R Diack (A Birch 55)

Referee: D Phillips (IRFU)

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