Planet Rugby

Ulster go top of Magners League

17th September 2010 22:21

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Andrew Trimble Ulster HEC

Try merchant: Andrew Trimble

Ulster moved top of the Magners League thanks to a 29-21 win over Edinburgh in a pulsating encounter at Ravenhill on Friday.

The results is Ulster's third-successive win of the Magners League campaign.

Tries from the returning Andrew Trimble and Ian Whitten plus a penalty fly-half Niall O'Connor gave the home side a 13-6 interval lead, Edinburgh's points coming from the Chris Paterson.

O'Connor extended the lead with a penalty, but Dutch wing Tim Visser crossed to get the Gunners back in the game.

O'Connor responded with another penalty and a drop goal and Cave's try put the hosts clear before Ben Cairns got a late score back for the Scottish side.

Ulster had the perfect start when O'Connor cross-kicked to Trimble on the left wing and the ball shot over Mark Robertson's head to fall for the Ireland winger, who then shrugged off a feeble tackle from Roberston and raced clear for the line.

O'Connor missed the tricky conversion but then Edinburgh hit back, four minutes later, after Ulster strayed offside at a ruck under their posts and Paterson obliged with the three pointer.

O'Connor was then wide with a long-range penalty before successfully bisecting the posts after Netani Talei was wrapped up and failed to release.

Always looking urgent, Ulster pushed on and the Stephen Ferris nailed Visser in a huge tackle which resulted in a penalty to Ulster, O'Connor put the ball in the corner and the home side suddenly cranked up the gears from the resulting line-out.

After surging up the middle with Paul Marshall making ground near Edinburgh's posts, Ferris carried twice before O'Connor's pass put centre Whitten over in the right corner, a score which proved too difficult for O'Connor to convert.

But Ulster's 13-3 lead was shortlived as, from the restart, Edinburgh won a line-out turnover and laid siege to Ulster's line.

The end result was Paterson's second penalty, although Scotland's record points scorer was off target with a third attempt at the end of the half.

That miss was punished two minutes after the restart as Ulster put 10 points between the sides with O'Connor's second penalty.

But, yet again, Ulster quickly conceded after Trimble threw a loose pass. Edinburgh worked the ball to Visser and, with no room to manoeuvre, the winger surged down the left and beat three tackles to score.

Paterson's conversion reduced Ulster's lead to three points but then all Edinburgh's good work was undone when flanker Scott Newlands was sent to the bin for killing the ball and O'Connor put Ulster 19-13 in front.

But any hope of Ulster making the extra man pay were immediately undone as Chris Henry was pinged for coming in from the side and Phil Godman slotted the penalty to again narrow Ulster's lead to three points.

Ulster's response was an O'Connor drop goal to keep them six points to the good and they stretched their lead when centre Cave broke through and made the line. O'Connor added the conversion to put Ulster 29-16 in front.

Cairns smashed through Jamie Smith's tackle for an unconverted score but it was not enough to prevent Edinburgh falling to their third defeat on the bounce.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Trimble, Whitten, Cave
Con: O'Connor
Pens: O'Connor 3
Drop: O'Connor

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Visser, Cairns
Cons: Godman
Pens: Paterson 2, Godman

Yellow card: Newlands (Edinburgh - 50th min)

Ulster: 15 Jamie Smith, 14 Paul Emerick, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 Tom Court, 2 Andi Kyriacou, 1 Bryan Young.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Tim Barker, 20 Pedrie Wannenburg, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 David McIlwaine.

Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Mark Robertson, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Alex Grove, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Roddy Grant (capt), 6 Scott Newlands, 5 Craig Hamilton, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Stuart McInally, 20 Dave Denton, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 David Blair, 23 John Houston.

Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: Alan Falzone (Italy)
Assistant referees: David Keane (Ireland), John Carvill (Ireland)

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