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Leinster dent Ulster's hopes

20th April 2012 22:51

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johann muller ulster v leicester HEC 2011

Ulster: Play-off hopes hit hard

Leinster secured a 16-8 victory over Ulster at Ravenhill to deny the hosts a chance of moving into the top-four of the Pro12.

A converted Kevin McLaughlin try to go alongside two Jonathan Sexton penalties saw the visitors take a 13-8 half-time lead. A Johann Muller touchdown and a Ruan Pienaar three-pointer was the home side's response.

The second half was a scrappy affair and a Sexton drop-goal was all either team had to show for their efforts. Despite having a Heineken Cup semi-final next week, the Dublin-based province surprisingly chose to go with a strong team.

They were initially rewarded for their selections when McLaughlin powered over after concerted pressure in the hosts' 22. Sexton converted to give them an early 7-0 lead.

However, the Northern Irish province, who started the evening one point outside the play-offs, hit back in the 25th minute as lock Muller touched down. Pienaar, having missed an earlier opportunity, was again off target with the conversion attempt.

The visiting fly-half then extended their advantage before the home side's South African half-back scored one of his own. But another Sexton penalty meant Leinster led 13-8 at the interval.

Ulster themselves fielded a strong outfit despite their European semi-final against Edinburgh and suffered three injuries to key players Chris Henry, Paddy Wallace and Pedrie Wannenburg.

It disrupted the flow of the match with the second period remaining scoreless until Sexton kicked a drop-goal, which prevented the hosts from garnering a bonus-point and going into fourth place.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Try: Muller
Pen: Pienaar

For Leinster:
Try: McLaughlin
Con: Sexton
Pens: Sexton 2
Drop: Sexton

Ulster: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Chris Henry, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Adam D'Arcy.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 David Kearney, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Fergus McFadden, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Sean O'Brien, 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Nathan White, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Fionn Carr.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland

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1Leinster622
2Northampton617
3Castres69
4Ospreys65