Ulster survive late scare to end their away day woes
NG Dragons 12 Ulster 19
Ulster survived an almighty scare at Rodney Parade to record a hard-fought 19-12 triumph over the Newport Gwent Dragons.
The Welsh team's skipper Rynard Landman crashed over in the dying seconds but was adjudged to have been held up.
That meant Paul Marshall's darting score was enough for the Ulstermen to record their first away victory of the season.
Ulster looked as if they were still on the plane in the opening quarter as indiscipline plagued any hopes of building a first-half lead.
Taulupe Faletau, unaffected by his collapsed move to Bath, was at the heart of the Dragons' ferocious carrying game.
And after a spell of sustained pressure the Ulster defence buckled and gave away a penalty right in front of the posts, which Dorian Jones converted.
It got worse for Les Kiss and his team after 16 minutes when Stuart McCloskey tripped a Dragons attacker and was shown yellow.
Jones stepped up and landed the penalty, and it was more of the same four minutes later when he landed a three-pointer from out wide.
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The visitors started to play when they found themselves 9-0 down, and earned a penalty of their own with their first foray into Dragons' territory.
Paddy Jackson was on target, and landed another after 36 minutes to cut the gap to 9-6 at half-time. After a half-time rattling, Ulster came out firing and took the lead through scrum-half Marshall. The nimble nine spotted a gap after sending his forwards charging into the defensive line and darted over.
Rory Best entered the fray on 54 minutes but was sin-binned 10 minutes later for handling at a ruck, allowing the hosts to cut their lead to a point.
They managed Best's absence comfortably and earned a penalty themselves with 10 minutes remaining, which young Jackson converted.
The Irish international made sure the Dragons had to score a try when he knocked another over from long range to extend their lead to 19-12.
But they had to work hard for their win when the home side launched a full-scale assault on the try-line, but Ulster survived for their first win on the road this season.
NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS - C Meyer (J Tovey 28), A Hewitt, A Hughes, A Warren, N Scott; D Jones (R Wardle 78), S Pretorius (C Davies 63); B Stankovich (P Price 68), E Dee (R Buckley 68), S Knight (B Harris 51); C Hill (M Screech 68), R Landman (capt); E Jackson (L Evans 63), O Griffiths, T Faletau.
ULSTER - P Nelson; R Scholes, D Cave, S McCloskey, S Arnold (C Gilroy 60); P Jackson, P Marshall (R Pienaar 57); K McCall, R Herring (capt) (R Best 54), W Herbst (R Lutton 66); D Tuohy, F van der Merwe (L Stevenson 74); Diack, C Henry, S Mulholland (S Reidy 68).