Planet Rugby

Five try success for Ulster

19th April 2013 21:34

Share:

Tommy Bowe Ulster thumbs ups 2

Fourth try: Tommy Bowe

Tommy Bowe's late try sealed a 34-18 bonus-point victory for Ulster against Connacht in Galway on Friday.

Ulster marched on towards a home semi-final thanks to five tries from Andrew Trimble, Stuart Olding, Rory Best, Bowe and Jared Payne.

This was a splendidly entertaining Irish derby that was much closer than the scoreline suggests.

Although Ulster led throughout the encounter, Connacht were never less than competitive, and played superb rugby for much of the match. The men in green have emerged as a real force in this tournament, and Eric Elwood will bid farewell at the end of the season with his head held high. For Ulster, the win puts them firmly in the Pro12 box seat.

The game got off to a ferociously physical start, as the opening two minutes yielded a welcome penalty for the vastly experienced Connacht front row at the expense of Ulster loose-head Tom Court.

From the ensuing kick, Connacht established field position in the visitors' 22, permitting powerful number eight George Naoupu to canter over for the opening try of the evening. Unfortunately Dan Parks missed the subsequent conversion.

It was the hosts who had made the more productive opening, and the onus was very much on the league leaders to respond, therefore. On the 5-minute mark, Ulster full-back Jared Payne was taken out clumsily in the air. Pienaar was remiss with the ensuing penalty, however.

Ulster were now beginning to find some attacking impetus, and their efforts were rewarded on 8 minutes when Stuart Olding finished off some intricate rugby as Ulster's backs secured front foot ball.

The visitors's pre-eminence was extended 3 minutes later when Andrew Trimble touched down in the right hand corner following majestic counter-attacking rugby.

Ulster were now 12-5 ahead. The breakdown was being fiercely contested, with Connacht extremely proficient in the physical exchanges. The western province struck again on 17 minutes, when Fetu'u Vainkolo touched down in the corner following poor Ulster defence.

Parks converted to equalise the scoreline at 12-12. Connacht have not lost at the Sportsground all season and their formidability at the venue was very much in evidence. Parks restored Connacht's lead on 23 minutes, thereby establishing a 3-point cushion for his side.

Connacht were establishing a definite parity of performance, but Ruan Pienaar kept his adopted province in touch on 28 minutes to level the score. The away team emphatically regained the momentum on 31 minutes when captain Rory Best emerged at the bottom of a superb maul. Peinaar converted to make it 15-22.

The second half got off to a similarly frenetic start, with Ulster pressurising the Connacht 22. It was Ulster who secured a penalty on 46 minutes, and they opted for a five-metre scrum.

Nick Williams failed to control at the base, however. Connacht reduced the deficit to four on 48 minutes, when replacement Miah Nikora slotted a penalty. As Ulster gained some much needed territory, they were impeded by a tendency to concede penalties in the red zone.

Connacht, meanwhile, were achieving superiority in the contact area. It was Ulster who struck next, though, on 71 minutes, when Tommy Bowe finished off a barnstorming run by substitute flanker, Iain Henderson.

Payne secured try number five two minutes later, making it 18-34. Connacht's brilliant home run has come to an end, therefore, but it was Ulster who moved tantalisingly closer to a home semi-final.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Naoupu, Vainikolo
Cons: Parks
Pens: Parks, Nikora

For Ulster:
Tries: Olding, Trimble, Best, Bowe, Payne
Cons: Pienaar 3
Pen: Pienaar

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Brian Murphy, 11 Gavin Duffy (capt), 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 John Muldoon, 6 Mick Kearney, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 Mata Fifita, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Fetu'u Vainikolo.

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 John Afoa, 19 Johann Muller, 20 Iain Henderson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Michael Allen, 23 Peter Nelson.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Barrie O'Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Sean Flannery (Ireland)
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (Ireland)

by Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954