Planet Rugby

Ulster blow Borders away

13th April 2007 21:26

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Ulster produced a fine second half performance to wrap up a 9-33 Magners League victory over the Borders at Netherdale on Friday.

The Reivers may have suffered another defeat - but the locals turned out in force in a bid to persuade Scottish Rugby Union chiefs not to follow through with their controversial plan to axe the club at the end of the season.

It was one of the team's bravest displays of the campaign against the reigning champions and the crowd of almost 4,000 was three times the average figure.

However, the bumper crowd could not have anticipated a worse start and finish to the contest.

First, they found themselves adrift after less than two minutes - then leaked 14 points in stoppage-time.

A missed tackle by Scotland hooker Ross Ford deep inside the danger zone allowed flanker Steve Ferris to latch on to a pass from Ryan Caldwell to cruise over close to the uprights - giving David Humphreys a formality of a conversion.

Reivers responded in positive fashion to dictate the exchanges for the portion of the game. And they were rewarded as stand-off Steve Jones stroked over a simple penalty.

But it took Humphreys only a matter of seconds to restore the visitors' advantage with an identical strike at the other end.

The duel of the boot-boys continued as Jones hit the target. However, the joy was tempered when international breakaway forward Kelly Brown was taken off for several minutes with a head injury.

Humphreys replied in predictable style - but the talking point in the build-up to half-time was the failure of Welsh referee Tim Hayes to take any action during two flash point incidents.

Home skipper Chris Cusiter was felled by a dangerous-looking challenge by Caldwell on the touchline, while team-mate Stuart Moffat was the apparent victim of an off-the-ball attack by former Australia star Justin Harrison.

Jones blasted over a long-range penalty in the 56th minute to reduce the gap to just four points - only for dead-eye Humphreys to follow suit twice in quick succession to finally snuff out the Reivers resistance.

Andy Maxwell and Bryn Cunningham grabbed tries in the dying seconds to give the score line a flattering look, with Humphreys converting both.

The Scorers:

For Borders:

Pens: Jones 3

For Ulster:

Tries: Ferris, Maxwell, Cunningham

Cons: Humphreys 3

Pens: Humphreys 4

The Teams:

Border Reivers: 15 Stuart Moffat, 14 Dougie Flockhart, 13 Ben MacDougall, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Garry Law, 10 Steve Jones, 9 Chris Cusiter (c), 8 Kelly Brown, 7 Andy Miller, 6 John Dalziel, 5 Craig Hamilton, 4 Opeta Palepoi, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Gavin Kerr

Replacements: 16 Steve Scott, 17 Bruce McNeil, 18 Stuart Grimes, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Rob Chrystie, 21 Gregor Townsend, 22 Bryan Rennie

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Trimble, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Maxwell, 10 David Humphreys, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Neil Best, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Simon Best (c), 2 Rory Best, 1 Bryan Young

Replacements: 16 Paul Shields, 17 Justin Fitzpatrick, 18 Tim Barker, 19 David Pollock, 20 Kieran Campbell, 21 Darren Cave, 22 Paul McKenzie

Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)

Touch judges: Graham Knox (Scotland), Graham Allen (Scotland)

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