Planet Rugby

Ulster battle past Leinster

21st December 2012 20:51

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Ruan Pienaar - Ulster Heineken Cup

Controller: Ruan Pienaar

Tries from Andrew Trimble, Nick Williams and a Penalty Try handed Ulster a 27-19 victory over Leinster at Ravenhill on Friday.

Christmas arrived early for Ulster in this pulsating game at Ravenhill, bringing some much needed festive cheer to a troubled city.

Ulster have firmly established themselves at the pinnacle of the Pro 12 and, in so doing; have exacted timely revenge for last season's Heineken Cup final defeat.

In typical fashion, it was Ulster who made the more productive start, and appeared like a team determined to make amends for last week's disappointing performance.

The home team began by carrying the ball with reckless abandon, and the opening minutes were characterised by terrific continuity and physicality.

This intense pressure from the home team yielded a penalty on four minutes, but fly-half Paddy Jackson was off radar with the kick. His effort was characteristic of a troubled evening with the boot, and the young number ten seemed to be carrying a leg injury.

All things considered, it may have been more prudent to entrust the kicking duties to Pienaar. As it was, it was the European champions who opened the scoring on 11 minutes, when the superb Ian Madigan banged over a penalty following an extremely dubious penalty decision at scrum time.

The away team were playing a higher tempo game, and their preferred mode of attack involved keeping the ball in hand. The men in blue went through phase after phase, looking to exploit holes in Ulster's much vaunted defence.

Their pressure started to pay dividends and Madigan extended the lead with another penalty on 18 minutes. But Ulster refused to panic and they thoughtfully felt their way into the game.

Jackson made up for his earlier miss on 25 minutes, when he slotted a penalty following outstanding work by the Ulster scrum. Indeed the scrum proved a very potent weapon indeed, with Tom Court in particular causing extreme difficulty for his international team-mate Michael Bent.

The scrummaging performance was a much needed boost following their under-par performance against the Saints. Pienaar levelled the scoreline on 29 minutes, having taken over the kicking duties from the unfortunate Jackson.

Ulster's scrum turned the game on its head on 37 minutes, when referee Clancy awarded a Penalty Try following an almighty shove by the Ulster eight.

The second half witnessed better fluidity from the Leinstermen, but the Ulster scrum remained utterly dominant. Rarely has a Leinster pack been humbled in such a manner. Madigan did narrow the gap to 13-12 on 42 minutes, following an appalling Ulster restart.

But the home team responded magnificently, with Nick Williams burrowing over for a try on 42 minutes, helped by the intervention of the TMO. Ulster were now 20-12 to the good. Pienaar fell short with an attempt on 63 minutes, and Madigan likewise misfired shortly after.

The final minutes of the encounter witnessed a massive rearguard effort by the home team. It is fair to say, however, that the sin-binning of Rory Best was something on an injustice. Trimble put the game beyond doubt with a well taken finish, the result of a beautiful cross-field kick by Pienaar.

Ulster's resistance could only last for so long, and McFadden scored a deserved consolation on 77 minutes. But don't let the scoreline fool you. The European kingpins had been decimated in this Christmas cracker at Ravenhill.

Can you hear that sound? It's the balance of power shifting in Irish rugby.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Penalty, Williams, Trimble
Pens: Jackson, Pienaar
Cons: Pienaar 3
Yellow Card: Best

For Leinster:
Tries: McFadden
Pens: Madigan 4
Con: Madigan

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Neil McComb, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Alan O'Connor, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Paddy Wallace, 23 Adam D'Arcy.

Leinster: 15 Noel Reid, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Michael Bent, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Andrew Goodman, 23 Adam Byrne.

by Rory McGimpsey

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
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
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
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
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
More ITM 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