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Ulster beaten by Connacht

14th April 2012 19:16

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Miah Nikora Connacht

Sixteen points: Miah Nikora

Ulster were brought back down to earth with a thud in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Saturday as they lost 26-21 to Connacht at the Sportsground.

The home side started the brighter with fly-half Miah Nikora knocking over an early penalty and showing excellent footwork and pace to step between Robbie Diack and Adam D'Arcy for the opening try.

And, after youngster Paddy Jackson had reduced the arrears with two penalties for Ulster, the hosts came up with a second try. This time captain Gavin Duffy applied the finish in the right-hand corner after centres Henry Fa'afili and Kyle Tonetti had given him the opportunity with some slick handling.

Connacht had missed both of their conversion attempts though and that allowed Ulster to draw level when scrum-half Paul Marshall scored with a snipe from the base of a ruck and Marshall added the extra two points. And Marshall, who was kicking well, added another penalty late in the first half to give his team a 16-13 lead at the break.

The home side made a fast start to the second half though, just as they had done in the first, and winger Tiernan O'Halloran went over in the corner after John Muldoon had brilliantly offloaded the ball to him out of the back of his hand to create the chance.

Again, they didn't hang on to the lead for too long though as Jackson added a try to his numerous successful kicks after Ruan Pienaar had released him out wide on the left-hand side.

A Nikora penalty wrestled the lead back for Connacht and, after both number fours Michael Swift and Lewis Stevenson were yellow-carded for scrapping on the floor, the game stagnated for ten minutes or so.

And just as the two locks were set to return to the fray, replacement Ali Birch was also sin-binned for Ulster for an infringement in front of his own posts and Nikora comfortably added the three points to stretch the lead to five points.

The hosts held on to secure bragging rights over their local rivals and seriously dented Ulster's hopes of reaching the end of season play-offs.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Nikora, Duffy, O'Halloran
Con: Nikora
Pen: Nikora 3

For Ulster:
Tries: Marshall, Jackson
Con: Jackson
Pen: Jackson 3

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Kyle Tonetti, 12 Henry Fa'afili, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Miah Nikora, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Johnny O'Connor, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Eoin Griffin.

Ulster: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Nevin Spence, 12 Paddy Jackson, 11 Adam D'Arcy, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Mike McComish, 5 Neil McComb, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Tom Court, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Ali Birch, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Craig Gilroy, 23 Michael Allen.

Referee: Dudley Phillips

  • Connacht Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
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
Saturday , February 21
Newport Gwent D'gons vs ConnachtTBC
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , December 6
Connacht vs Bayonne17:00
Saturday , December 13
Bayonne vs Connacht19:45
Saturday , January 17
Connacht vs ExeterTBC
Saturday , January 24
La Rochelle vs ConnachtTBC
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Connacht Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Friday , October 31
Ospreys 26 - 11 Connacht
More Guinness PRO12 results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Saturday , October 18
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 10
Benetton Treviso 6 - 9 Connacht
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  • Table
Guinness PRO12 Table
PosTeamPPts
3Munster828
4Glasgow Warriors827
5Connacht823
6Scarlets822
7Leinster721