Planet Rugby

Ulster off the mark

09th October 2009 21:33

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Willie Falloon v Bath

Willie Falloon dives over for Ulster's second try

Ulster began their Heineken Cup campaign with an excellent 26-12 win over Bath at Ravenhill on Friday.

Fly-half Ian Humphreys again produced an eye-catching performance for the home side, scoring 16 points with the boot from three penalties, a drop goal and two conversions.

Ulster scored tries in either half from Fijian winger Timoci Nagusa and man of the match, flanker Willie Faloon, while a disappointing Bath could only manage four penalties from Ryan Davis.

After Davis and Humphreys had exchanged early penalties, Ulster gave the ball width from quickly moved lineout ball and found space out on the left wing.

Darren Cave put Clinton Schifcofske into open territory and also conveniently tugged at Joe Maddock's jersey as the Ulster full-back barrelled on towards the line. From the ruck, Nagusa smashed over and Humphreys added the extras to the 14th-minute score.

But Bath came back with Davis' second penalty seven minutes later after Ulster strayed offside. Much of the remainder was fairly scrappy with neither side really imposing any pattern, though Humphreys' 34th-minute penalty after Bath pulled down a driving maul just stayed left of the upright.

And just to add to the lack of precision Bath skipper Michael Claassens knocked a ball on with his team-mates on the overlap screaming for him to move it left just inside Ulster's 22.

Still, Ulster started the second half strongly and a series of pick and drives instigated from a lineout take by Stephen Ferris resulted in Humphreys calmly slotting a drop-goal to give Ulster a 13-6 lead two minutes into the half.

That was then extended following a passage of play when Davis was charged down twice before Ulster countered after the visiting out-half finally cleared from behind his own line.

In midfield, soft hands from Humphreys put hooker Andy Kyriacou through and he drew the cover to put Faloon under the posts. Humphreys easily converted, but Ulster's 20-9 lead was short lived as, from the restart, Ulster conceded a penalty which Davis converted to make it 20-12 five minutes before the hour mark.

It didn't last though and, two minutes later, Bath killed the ball on the floor and Humphreys kicked his second penalty.

With ten minutes left and the game effectively over, Humphreys was wide with a drop-goal attempt but then landed another penalty after Bath's Andy Beattie was sin-binned for what appeared to be dangerous use of the boot.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Nagusa, Falloon
Cons: Humphreys 2
Pens: Humphreys 3
Drop goal: Humphreys

For Bath:
Pens: Davis 4

Ulster: 15 Clinton Schifcofske, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Andy Kyriacou, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements:16 Nigel Brady, 17 Bryan Young, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Simon Danielli,

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Joe Maddock, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Jonny Fa'amatuainu, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Andrew Beattie, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Lee Mears, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements:16 Pieter Dixon, 17 David Barnes, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Peter Short, 20 Ben Skirving, 21 Scott Bemand, 22 Nicky Little, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales), Jonathan Mason (Wales)

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