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Ulster keep play-off hopes alive

22nd April 2011 21:37

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Paul Marshall ulster

Ulster: Crucial win

Ulster continued their march towards the Magners League play-offs with an unconvincing 27-16 victory over Irish rivals Connacht.

Hooker Rory Best, full-back Adam D'Arcy and centre Darren Cave all scored tries, with fly-half Ian Humphreys adding 12 points with the boot.

But the visitors were determined to upset the odds and were rewarded with a superb converted try by hooker Sean Cronin, plus three more penalties from stand-off Ian Keatley.

Despite their defeat to Leinster last time out, Ulster were looking to continue their fine recent run, and they displayed that confidence in the opening minutes.

An excellent inside ball from Humphreys to D'Arcy saw the full-back break clear of the Connacht defence before he off-loaded to Cave, who then fed Best for an easy run to the line.

The hosts' stand-off converted to open up a seven point gap. However, Connacht responded almost immediately through a Keatley drop-goal.

A period of stagnant play followed but on 31 minutes, Humphreys weaved his magic once more and the supporting D'Arcy was on his shoulder to touch down for a converted score.

Keatley reduced the arrears on the stroke of half-time with a penalty to leave Ulster in control at 14-6.

However, Keatley kicked his second penalty to bring Connacht to within losing bonus-point territory before Humphreys responded with one of his own.

Cronin then showed impressive pace to outstrip the hosts' defence for a converted try. Suddenly, after looking in control, only one point separated Ulster from a surprise defeat.

But they reasserted their control and Humphreys eased their nerves with another three points. And Cave made sure of the win five minutes from time, Humphreys converting.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Best, Cave, D'Arcy
Cons: Humphreys 3
Pens: Humphreys 2

For Connacht:
Tries: Cronin
Cons: Keatley
Pens: Keatley 2
Drops: Keatley

Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Nevin Spence, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Willie Fallon, 6 Chris Henry, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller 3 Jerry Cronin, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Paddy McAllister
Replacements: 16 Andy Kyriacou, 17 Bryan Young, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Tim Barker, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 C Gaston.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Eoin Griffin, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Johnny O'Connor (c), 6 Mike McCarthy, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Brett Wilkinson
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran

Referee: JP Doyle

  • Connacht Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Friday , November 21
Connacht vs Zebre19:35
Saturday , November 29
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Friday , December 19
Leinster vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , December 27
Ulster vs ConnachtTBC
Friday , January 9
Connacht vs Edinburgh19:35
Wednesday, January 14
Scarlets vs ConnachtTBC
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , December 6
Connacht vs BayonneTBC
Saturday , December 13
Bayonne vs ConnachtTBC
Saturday , January 17
Connacht vs ExeterTBC
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Connacht Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Saturday , October 18
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 10
Benetton Treviso 6 - 9 ConnachtBenetton Treviso vs Connacht Report
Friday , October 3
Connacht 24 - 24 Cardiff Blues
Friday , September 26
Glasgow 39 - 21 Connacht
Friday , September 19
Connacht 10 - 9 Leinster
Friday , September 12
Edinburgh 13 - 14 Connacht
Saturday , September 6
Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Guinness PRO12 Table
PosTeamPPts
3Ulster622
4Munster619
5Connacht618
6Leinster616
7Scarlets614