Simple enough for Ulster

Date published: November 1 2014

Ulster wrapped up a comfortable 23-6 victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons at Ravenhill on Saturday in the Pro12.

Ulster wrapped up a comfortable 23-6 victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons at Ravenhill on Saturday in the Pro12.

On a wet night in Belfast, Olding got the game’s first try after half an hour, following up two Paddy Jackson penalties.

Angus O’Brien did hit back before the break with a penalty, but Olding again struck early in the second half to build a gap.

O’Brien’s second penalty reduced the deficit to ten, but despite Ulster’s regular attacks, they couldn’t snatch the bonus point, with Declan Fitzpatrick’s added time try coming too late.

Though both sides made a host of changes from their last ties, it was Ulster who looked much more comfortable as they dominated the first half.

Despite losing captain Roger Wilson to an early injury, they stayed on top for the full 40 and probably should have had a bigger lead at the break.

It did take them 25 minutes to get in front however, though they finally managed to draw a penalty out of the visitors, and Jackson, who was released from the Ireland squad in the week, got the three points. And that started a period where Ulster pulled away from the Welsh side, as they hit 11 points in four minutes.

Jackson scored another penalty after Newport were punished for not rolling away, before Ulster got the game’s first try from their next attack.

Darren Cave’s neat pass sent Olding on his way, and despite a series of attempted challenges, the 21 year old was able to hold off the efforts of a desperate Dragons defence before going over. Jackson missed the subsequent kick, and Newport’s O’Brien narrowed the score soon after with a successful penalty, as the two sides went in 11-3.

Olding edged his second try seven minutes into the second half, as he edged inside the corner flag. Stuart McCloskey’s clever parry sent him clear, and despite the TMO having a series of replays, the try was awarded.

O’Brien hit a second penalty for Newport as they looked to keep the bonus point, a point which Ulster really should have claimed. Had it not been for poor final passes, they would have done, with Ian Humphreys dreadful final ball costing his side five more points, whilst Paddy Jackson’s kicking was not quite good enough.

The final try of the game came in overtime, and it sealed the game for Ulster who moved up to third. Substitute Fitzpatrick finally went over after a sea of pressure, with Humphreys converting, but it proved too late for Ulster to grab the extra point.

The victory ensured Ulster had something to cheer about, after back to back defeats in the European competition.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Olding 2, Fitzpatrick
Con: Humphreys
Pens: Jackson 2

For Dragons:
Pens: O’Brien 2

Ulster: 15 Stuart Olding, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Peter Nelson, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson (c); 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Clive Ross, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Calum Black.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Ricky Andrew.

Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Rhys Williams, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Andy Powell. 7 James Benjamin, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rynard Landman (c), 4 James Thomas, 3 Dan Way, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Scott Andrews, 20 Ollie Griffiths, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Geraint Rhys Jones,23 Ashton Hewitt.

Referee: Matteo Liperini (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)