Planet Rugby

Ulster floored by Northampton

15th December 2012 19:59

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Stephen Myler

Five points: Stephen Myler

Ulster finally had their impressive winning run ended by Northampton on Saturday as the English side hit back with a gritty 10-9 victory at Ravenhill.

In a surprise result, the Saints showed immense character to bounce back from last week's 25-6 defeat with a performance that clearly delighted director of rugby Jim Mallinder at the final whistle.

Northampton were unrecognisable from the outfit that fell so timidly last Friday as Ulster were well-and-truly under the cosh in the early sparring.

They fully deserved their opening points from Stephen Myler on seven minutes as it was an opening that showed Ulster they meant business.

That stirred their hosts though as after Darren Cave's break close to the right touchline, Ulster finally had some possession and territory that cooled the red hot start from the Saints. It was abundantly clear though that Northampton were going to be a much tougher proposition this time.

Saints almost emphasised that point when hooker Mikey Haywood - in for the suspended Dylan Hartley - broke on the left wing to take his side to within five metres. And the pressure finally told on seventeen minutes as lovely handling down the line from Soane Tonga'uiha and Ken Pisi led to number eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze fending off Andrew Trimble en route to the try-line. Fly-half Myler's conversion was solid so Northampton were now ten ahead.

Ulster didn't have thirteen straight wins under their belt for nothing though and in the blink of an eye they were almost going over for their first try of the night. It came from a Myler error as his chip kick was charged down and collected by Nick Williams who set off downfield. However, Rory Best's offload did not find his intended man so Saints survived with just three points going against them for a resulting offence. Paddy Jackson slotted to make it 3-10.

The home fly-half missed the opportunity to double his tally on 34 minutes after Tom Court followed up last week's personal win over Brian Mujati with the first points in the fight with Paul Doran-Jones. Jackson did make amends five minutes later though from the tee.

Northampton continued their fine effort in the second-half and even though Jackson reduced the gap to a single point three minutes after the break, the Saints still had the bit between their teeth and continued to apply the pressure in a meeting that was becoming tense.

In fact there was to be no further score despite Ulster's efforts, the hosts almost scoring a break-out try when Ruan Pienaar and replacement Craig Gilroy combined from halfway until exceptional cover defence and breakdown work from Jamie Elliott saved the day for Saints.

That was what he and many watching thought but a moment of brilliance from another substitute, Paul Marshall, created the grandstand finish at Ravenhill. The busy scrum-half was ordered to back himself down the blindside in his own 22 and promptly raced through a gap and up to halfway before handing on to Tommy Bowe, who slipped badly on the pitch.

However, lock Mark Sorenson then failed to release the ball in the tackle and that led to Pienaar having the chance to win it. He failed to succeed in what was an off-night for the Springbok and Northampton ultimately held on for a result that keeps their hopes alive.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Pen: Jackson 3

For Northampton:
Try: Van Velze
Con: Myler
Pen: Myler

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson , 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Nick Williams, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Calum Clark, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Luther Burrell.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Jonathan Mason (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39