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
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs CastresToulouse vs Castres Preview
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Preview
Counties Manukau vs OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Preview
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00