Monday 19 November 2018

Leali'ifano rescues Ulster draw

Dragons 32 Ulster 32

Tommaso Allan of Benetton in action against Kieran Treadwell of Ulster. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Tommaso Allan of Benetton in action against Kieran Treadwell of Ulster. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Adam McKendry

A thrilling climax at Rodney Parade saw Christian Leali'ifano's last-minute try rescue a draw for Ulster against the Dragons.

Ashton Hewitt's 77th-minute score looked to have taken all five points for the Welsh side, but Ulster battled back to share the spoils.

Charles Piutau of Ulster is tackled by Alberto De Marchi of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Charles Piutau of Ulster is tackled by Alberto De Marchi of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Leali'ifano handed Ulster the lead, and they increased that on nine minutes through Craig Gilroy.

The Welshmen struck back via a relentless driving maul, Matthew Screech touching down.

Four minutes later they led for the first time, when fly-half Gavin Henson converted a penalty.

Things went from bad to worse for Ulster as the Welsh side crossed again, this time through Hewitt, only for Ulster to steady the ship with a penalty try after a strong maul of their own, leaving the sides level 15-15 at the break.

Charles Piutau of Ulster is tackled by Robert Barbieri of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Charles Piutau of Ulster is tackled by Robert Barbieri of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

The visitors struck again after the restart, Paul Marshall sniping over in the corner.

Les Kiss' side then sealed the four-try bonus point through Gilroy's second, to go ahead 27-15.

Ulster let their hosts back into the game though, conceding another maul try, this time from Liam Belcher in the 66th minute.

The hosts then drew level five minutes later, grabbing their four-try bonus through Angus O'Brien.

Louis Ludik of Ulster is tackled by Ignacio Brex of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Louis Ludik of Ulster is tackled by Ignacio Brex of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

It looked like the Dragons had won it late on when Dixon touched down but Leali'fano spared Ulster's blushes, although he could have won the game if he hadn't sent his conversion attempt wide.

DRAGONS - A O'Brien; A Hewitt, A Warren, J Dixon, J Rosser; G Henson, D Babos; B Harris, L Belcher, L Fairbrother (S Hobbs 30); J Davies, M Screech (R Landman 53); A Wainwright (B Roach 53), O Griffiths, J Benjamin.

ULSTER - C Piutau, C Gilroy, T Bowe, S McCloskey, L Ludik (Andrew Trimble 76); C Leali'ifano, P Marshall (J Cooney 53); S van der Merwe (C Black 52), J Andrew (R Best 52), R Kane (A Warwick 52); A O'Connor, K Treadwell (M Dalton 72), G Jones (C Henry 57), S Reidy, N Timoney.

REF - Marius Mitrea (Italy).

Clive Ross of Ulster is tackled by Cherif Traore of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Clive Ross of Ulster is tackled by Cherif Traore of Benetton. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

 

Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport