Planet Rugby

Ulster finish 2007 rock bottom

26th December 2007 17:04

Share:

Ulster's miserable year came to an end on Boxing Day with a dire 29-0 defeat to Leinster in the Magners League at the RDS.

After Felipe Contempomi had slowly stretched Leinster's lead to 12-0 after 50 minutes with four penalties, it was young reserve prop Cian Healy who notched Leinster's first try, and the Leinstermen were coasting home after that.

Leinster were without injured stars Brian O'Driscoll and Shane Horgan but Argentina star Contepomi switched to centre to replace O'Driscoll with Jonathan Sexton at fly-half.

After securing a 9-0 half-time lead with three Contepomi penalties Leinster turned up the heat after the break with tries from forwards Healy and Jamie Heaslip.

Contepomi converted both and also landed penalties either side of Healy's score.

The win saw Michael Cheika's side erase some memories of their Heineken Cup collapse to Edinburgh.

Ulster were under the cosh from the start and only some aggressive defending, typified by livewire lock Ryan Caldwell and Ireland flanker Neil Best, kept their try-line intact.

Leinster adopted a direct style, establishing early dominance at the scrum and foraging around the fringes, with young fly-half Sexton also peppering the touchlines with some fine kicks.

Leinster went ahead in the ninth minute when Contepomi knocked over a close-range penalty and while he was kept quiet in open play, the Ulster defence was almost unlocked on the half-hour when the Argentinian combined superbly with Sexton and Keith Gleeson.

Winless in Dublin since 1999, Ulster kept themselves in touch with some teak-tough tackling and centre Andrew Trimble began to find space midway through the half.

A better-placed pass would have put the Ireland international away in the 24th minute and it took a brilliant tackle from Gleeson to fell Trimble when he threatened again just moments later.

A subsequent ruck infringement allowed Contepomi to double Leinster's lead and the Pumas star kept up his 100 per cent record in the 29th minute, after Ulster scrum half Isaac Boss had been sin-binned.

Paddy Wallace had a chance to cut the gap for Ulster at the start of the second but his wind-backed effort fell short of the uprights.

Ulster were back to 14 men soon after when flanker Neil Best was yellow-carded for a blatant foot trip on Sexton. Worse followed for the visitors as they lost their captain Rory Best to a leg injury.

Leinster began to motor clear on the scoreboard with Contepomi's fourth penalty being followed by Healy's 57th-minute try.

The young prop, part of the successful Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam team from last season, fooled Wallace with a lovely step and he straightened to make the line from 10 metres out.

Contepomi converted and knocked over another penalty before the seal was put on Leinster's fourth successive league win when Sexton's snappy pass sent number eight Heaslip charging through a gap and in behind the posts.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Tries: Healy, Heaslip

Cons: Contempomi 2

Pens: Contempomi 5

Yellow cards: Boss (28, Ulster), Neil Best (48, Ulster)

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Luke Fitzgerald, 13 Gordon D'Arcy, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Guy Easterby, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Keith Gleeson, 6 Shane Jennings, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Stan Wright, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Ollie le Roux.

Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Cameron Jowitt, 19 Stephen Keogh, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Christian Warner, 22 Gary Brown.

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Trimble, 12 Rob Dewey, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Paddy Wallace, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Matt McCullough, 7 Kieran Dawson, 6 Neil Best, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Justin Fitzpatrick.

Replacements: 16 Bryan Young, 17 Nigel Brady, 18 Carlo Del Fava, 19 Grant Webb, 20 David Pollock, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 David Humphreys.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs EdinburghGlasgow vs Edinburgh Preview
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs HarlequinsNorthampton vs Harlequins Preview
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs WaratahsBlues vs Waratahs Preview
Brumbies vs ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Preview
Sharks vs HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Preview
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058