First half salvo helps Ulster to victory

Date published: February 10 2017

Ulster recorded four first-half tries to defeat Edinburgh 24-18 in the PRO12 on Friday in Belfast.

After taking an early lead, Edinburgh’s backline failed to hold their opponents, but a second-half comeback from Edinburgh stopped short of anything more than a losing bonus point.

The visitors made a blistering start with Mangus Bradbury going over on the left-hand side after a series of phases, but Ulster turned the game on its head with a converted try courtesy of Paul Marshall’s touchdown and Peter Nelson’s straightforward kick.

The opening quarter got better for the hosts soon after as Darren Cave benefitted from a superb break by Jacob Stockdale who set up the centre to go over and then a third try came courtesy of Charles Piutau, the New Zealander finishing off a fine move crafted expertly by Louis Ludik.

Just past the half hour, the Scots’ early lead became a distant memory as the match became a living nightmare with Ulster grabbing their bonus point try.

Stockdale turned scorer following his creative exploits with Nelson adding the extras. With the game running away from Edinburgh, hooker Stuart McInally went over from close range to restore some parity at half-time.

Edinburgh made even more ground on the match as Damien Hoyland went over in the right hand side to put the Scots right back into the contest, but the conversion was again sent agonisingly wide.

The kicking got better from the penalties for the visitors as replacement Sam Hidalgo-Clyne knocked over the three points to put a converted try between the sides going into the final phases of the match but it never came and they had to settle for the losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Marshall, Cave, Ludik, Stockdale
Cons: Nelson 2

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Bradbury, McInally, Hoyland
Con: Hidalgo-Clyne

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Jacob Stockdale, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Alan O'Connor, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 John Andrew, 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Callum Black, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Stuart McCloskey, 23 Tommy Bowe

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 John Hardie, 6 Viliame Mata, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Neil Cochrane (c), 1 Jack Cosgrove
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Derrick Appiah, 18 Nick Beavon, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Viliami Fihaki, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Michael Allen, 23 Rory Scholes

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies (Wales), Shane Kierans (Ireland)
TMO: Paul Adams (Wales)