Pacesetters Edinburgh maintained their perfect record in the Pro12, defeating an Ulster side that slumped to their second defeat on the road, 16-10.
The star man was undoubtedly Edinburgh openside Hamish Watson, who put in a phenomenal performance full of vigour and application.
The ubiquitous number seven was pushed for the man-of-the-match accolade by the impressive Greig Tonks, who landed three penalties and a conversion.
Edinburgh’s half-time lead was cancelled out by a Sean Reidy try early in the second half, but Ulster were second best throughout the game, never really threatening the home side’s dominance.
The match was a scrappy spectacle it has to be said, but Edinburgh won’t care as they continue their unbeaten run.
Tonks landed the first points on five minutes when he slotted an early penalty for the Scottish outfit. The home side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening exchanges, but lacked a cutting edge.
Ulster’s line speed was very good in fairness – with Andrew Trimble impressive – impeding the momentum of the hosts.
Tonks deservedly doubled Edinburgh’s advantage on 17 minutes when he nailed another penalty after the Irishmen were pinged for a Dan Tuohy infringement on the floor.
Peter Nelson clawed three points back for the Irish side on 24 minutes, with Edinburgh cynically slowing down Ulster ball in the red zone.
The Irishmen were winning quite a bit of front foot ball, but were continually outfoxed by the Scottish back row, especially the outstanding Watson.
At the end of a fairly underwhelming first half, it was the hosts who were in the driving seat but the contest was far from entertaining.
Ulster made a good start to the second period, and got their reward with Reidy’s 44th minute try, the Ulster openside touching down after several phases.
Nelson converted to edge the visitors into a 10-6 lead. From a relatively comfortable position, the Scottish side were forced to chase the game, and they duly increased their tempo.
The intensity of the home side yielded an immediate return on 54 minutes when a neat inside ball from Nasi Manu put Watson under the posts for a seven pointer. Tonks converted, and gave Edinburgh a 13-10 lead.
And the Edinburgh full-back gratefully increased his side’s cushion to six points on 64 minutes when he nailed another penalty.
The game became quite fractured in the last ten minutes as both sides sought to deal the killer blow. As it was, Tonks had a great chance to seal the win with a penalty on 71 minutes, but was way off target with the difficult kick.
Ulster spent the remainder of the match desperately looking for a breakthrough; with replacement fly-half Ian Humphreys giving them renewed impetus. Edinburgh’s defence was nothing less than superb, though, and they held on to secure a well-earned win.
Pens: Tonks 3
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Phil Burleigh, 9 Nathan Fowles, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 John Andress 2 Neil Cochrane, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Will Helu, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Roger Wilson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Rory Scholes.
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Mike Adamson (Scotland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)