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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
Saturday , September 6
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Friday , September 12
Edinburgh vs Connacht19:35
Friday , September 19
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Friday , September 26
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , October 11
Benetton Treviso vs ConnachtTBC
Friday , October 31
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Friday , November 21
Connacht vs Zebre19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 18
Connacht vs La Rochelle17:00
Saturday , October 25
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Table
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60