Sport Rugby

Thursday 22 February 2018

Ulster's run at an end after failure to take opportunities

Edinburgh 21 Ulster 16

Alan Lorimer

Ulster's impressive unbeaten run in the Magners League came to a halt at Murrayfield, where Edinburgh gained revenge for their defeat at Ravenhill last month with a deserved win.

The visitors, however, will be asking why, after being in total control for most of the second quarter, they let Edinburgh back into the game in the second half.

Part of the reason was that Edinburgh's pack, sluggish before the break, stepped up their effort in the second half and were able to match what had been an impressive Ulster forward effort.

Edinburgh opened the scoring after David Blair's drop-goal attempt touched an Ulster hand in flight, giving the homes side a five-metre scrum. From there Edinburgh moved the ball quickly, setting up phase ball for lock Fraser McKenzie, arriving at speed, to crash over for a try.

A powerful run by Australian Adam D'Arcy put Ulster in a good attacking position but the dividend, a penalty by David Wallace, was not perhaps all the visitors wanted from their territorial gain.


Ulster's three points were cancelled out by a similar effort from Edinburgh full-back Chris Paterson for a post-tackle offence.

Ulster, however, were quick to recover, and Ian Whitten found himself with room to run in for a deserved Ulster score, after Andrew Trimble was held up close to the line. Wallace's conversion gave his side the lead for the first time.

The visitors should have made more of their pressure just before the break but their reward was merely a 43rd-minute penalty by Wallace to open a five-point gap.

Edinburgh closed it straight away with good forward driving that eventually released Netani Talei. The No 8 was stopped close to the line but when the ball was recycled Talei claimed his side's second try, converted by Paterson. The full-back added another penalty moments later.

Replacement out-half Ian Humphreys goaled from 45 meters to bring Ulster within two points of Edinburgh, the penalty resulting from a foul by Edinburgh's Kyle Traynor that earned the replacement prop a yellow card.

It should have meant a big advantage for Ulster but instead it was Edinburgh who claimed the next points with a drop-goal from Blair to restore the five-point lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Edinburgh -- C Paterson; J Thompson, B Cairns, J King (A Grove 56), T Visser; D Blair, G Laidlaw; A Jacobsen (K Traynor 56), A Kelly, G Cross (D Young 49), S MacLeod, F McKenzie, A MacDonakd (S Newlands 56, R Rennie, N Talei.

Ulster -- A D'Arcy; M McCrea (I Humphreys 70), A Trimble, I Whitten, D McIlwaine; P Wallace, R Pienaar; P McAllister (T Court 56), R Best (A Kyriacou 47), BJ Botha (B Young 65), J Muller, D Tuohy, S Ferris, C Henry (P Wannenberg 65), R Diack.

Ref -- J Jones (Wales).

Irish Independent

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