Planet Rugby

Humphreys lands Ulster a lifeline

26th October 2007 22:05


Ulster dramatically snatched what could prove a vital 16-16 draw with Leinster in their previously stuttering Magners League campaign, with an injury-time penalty from second-half substitute David Humphreys ending his side's run of three straight defeats.

It was a typically eye-catching performance from Humphreys who made an immediate impact after coming on early in the second half for Paddy Wallace by helping create Ulster's only try from Andrew Trimble in the 55th minute.

Humphreys then added a penalty and drop goal to draw Ulster level before Jonathan Sexton's late penalty seemed to have given the visitors a first win in three games.

Then up stepped Humphreys to snatch two points for his side who remain at the bottom of the table in spite of the points, thanks to Connacht drawing with Edinburgh in Galway.

Leinster, who welcomed back star players Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Shane Horgan and Girvan Dempsey, were unable to secure a win despite having the dominant pack where ex-Springbok Ollie Le Roux looked impressive.

Ulster, who also had their World Cup contingent playing, were largely on the back foot until Humphreys' inclusion and had to rely on some solid defending to keep them in the game.

But when the veteran fly-half showed the ball and put Bryn Cunningham away, who in turn fed Trimble for a well-worked try, Ulster's dramatic revival was under way.

Leinster dominated the opening 40 minutes but through a combination of poor finishing and being penalised with the line in sight, they only managed to build a 6-0 lead through the boot of Jonathan Sexton.

This at least allowed Ulster stay in touch even though their line-out and general forward effort were clearly badly malfunctioning.

They were driven over their own line to concede a 5m scrum from a line-out take, illustrating the difficulties being experienced by the home side up front.

The visitors opened the scoring after 18 minutes through Sexton as Leinster's pack turned up the heat on Mark McCall's men who managed one long-range and one short penalty attempts from Wallace in the first half.

Rob Kearney then nearly had a score from an O'Driscoll chip but it was ruled that Tommy Bowe had got downward pressure first.

Five minutes after the half hour, Sexton stretched Leinster's lead and the half ended with the visitors twice being penalised for holding on with the Ulster line within reach.

They did manage to score an early try on the resumption when D'Arcy was driven over from close range and Sexton's superb touchline conversion gave them what appeared to be an untouchable 13-0 lead.

But then Humphreys, accompanied by Justin Harrison, arrived on the pitch and the momentum was firmly with Ulster for much of the remainder as they forced a 16-16 draw.

The scorers:

For Ulster:

Try: Trimble

Con: Humphreys

Pens: Humphreys 2

Drop goal: Humphreys

For Leinster:

Try: D'Arcy

Con: Sexton

Pens: Sexton 3

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Trimble, 12 Rob Dewey, 11 Mark McCrea, 10 Paddy Wallace 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Stephen Ferris, 7 Kieron Dawson, 6 Neil Best, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Carlo Del Fava, 3 Bryan Young, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Justin Fitzpatrick

Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Justin Harrison, 19 Roger Wilson, 20 Paul Marshall, 21 David Humphreys, 22 Mark Bartholomeusz

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Chris Whitaker, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Stephen Keogh, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Stephen Knoop, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Ollie Le-Roux

Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Stan Wright, 18 Devin Toner, 19 Keith Gleeson, 20 Cillian Willis, 21 Christian Warner, 22 Luke Fitzgerald

Referee: George Clancey (Ireland)

Touch judges: Leo Coglan (Ireland), Tom Horkan (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , September 20
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs15:00
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Preview
Wellington vs TasmanWellington vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
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
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
4Leicester Tigers29