Planet Rugby

Bonus-point start for Ulster

12th October 2012 22:06

Share:

Paul Marshall

Ulster brace: Paul Marshall

Ulster made the perfect start to their Heineken Cup campaign after banking five points in a 41-17 win over Castres.

Another night of high drama at Ravenhill culminated in the most unlikely of finishes.

While the scoreline suggests an emphatic victory, this compelling match told a different story. The night had begun with the disappointing news that Ulster would start their Heineken Cup campaign without Nick Williams or their talisman, Stephen Ferris. Suddenly their European opener had taken on a much more arduous complexion.

The French visitors will have been encouraged by their start. The hosts were penalised when a poor clearance kick from Paul Marshall was followed a powerful Castres' scrum. Teulet successfully added the three points.

Ulster's response was immediate. The home pack marched into the opposition 22 and, in the ensuing onslaught, the Frenchmen were caught offside. Jackson successfully landed his kick to level the scoreline.

Last year's beaten finalists had begun to find their rhythm. Ulster's backs started to play with the dynamism that has been the hallmark of their performances in recent weeks. A poor Castres' kick was swept up by Jared Payne who went on an electric run, before getting the ball away for Andrew Trimble to score in the corner. Jackson successfully converted from the most acute of angles.

The visitors responded with determination and were rewarded with a penalty on ten minutes. Bernard missed the resulting kick, however.

Ulster then upped the tempo, using their three-quarter line to devastating effect. The home side were awarded another penalty on 15 minutes, following a series of incisive runs. Again the boot of Jackson proved deadly accurate, making it 13-3.

By this stage, Ulster were looking dangerous, the fluidity of their game testament to the manner in which Mark Anscombe has inculcated the team with southern hemisphere skill levels.

Trimble was unlucky not to add to the tally, having been penalised for holding on in the Castres' 22. But Paul Marshall did extend the lead on 27 minutes, with Jackson taking the score to 20.

But Castres weren't finished. Their forwards rallied and forced their way into the Ulster 22. A series of drives ended with Marc Andreu taking a cross field kick to score. Teulet added the two points. Fittingly it was the home side that ended the half stronger, with Jackson slotting a penalty on 35.

The second half commenced with Ulster hungry to achieve the bonus point. That ambition took a step closer on 42 minutes, when Marshall burrowed over from close range. Jackson missed the conversion.

Shortly thereafter, Ulster spurned the chance to go to the corner and added another three points. At that stage, the fourth try looked a mere formality.

But Castres fought back. Marcel Garvey scored on 52 minutes after sustained pressure by his forwards. Teulet converted to make the score 31-17.

Ulster made their task much more difficult when prop Tom Court was sin-binned on 57 minutes. The decision seemed to galvanise the 14 men, however, and Jackson added another penalty on 61 minutes.

Ulster's quest for the fourth try was impeded by a conservative game plan. Captain Johann Muller repeatedly turned down the chance to go to the corner, preferring to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The substitution of Tommy Bowe seemed to disrupt their impetus further as the chase for the fourth try became increasingly desperate. The home team kicked to the corner on 77 minutes, but gave away a penalty with the line at their mercy. Castres' forwards defended stoutly, and it appeared as if Ulster were destined to rue their missed chances. But cometh the hour, cometh the man. Deep into injury time, a poor Casters' kick gifted the ball to Ruan Pienaar who sliced through the Castres' cover to score. The elusive bonus-point had been achieved, sending Ravenhill into raptures.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: P Marshall 2, Pienaar, Trimble
Cons: Jackson 3
Pens: Jackson 5

For Castres:
Tries: Andreu, Garvey
Cons: Teulet 2
Pen: Teulet

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Stephen Ferris, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johan Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Castres: 15 Romain Teulet, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Seremaia Bai, 12 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Thierry Lacrampe, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Yannick Caballero, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Matthias Rolland, 3 Michaël Coetzee, 2 Mathieu Bonello, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Grégory Marmoiton, 18 Mihaïta Lazar, 19 Iosefa Tekori, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Paul Bonnefond, 23 Thomas Sanchou.

Referee: Andrew Small

By Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 OspreysNewport Gwent D
Ulster 33 - 13 ZebreUlster vs Zebre Report
Edinburgh 13 - 14 ConnachtEdinburgh vs Connacht Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
La Rochelle 41 - 16 CastresLa Rochelle vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh 0 - 52 ExeterLondon Welsh vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 26 - 41 Cardiff BluesZebre vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 6
Sale Sharks 20 - 29 BathSale Sharks vs Bath Report
Leicester 36 - 17 NewcastleLeicester vs Newcastle Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26