Planet Rugby

Bonus-point start for Ulster

12th October 2012 22:06

Share:

Paul Marshall

Ulster brace: Paul Marshall

Ulster made the perfect start to their Heineken Cup campaign after banking five points in a 41-17 win over Castres.

Another night of high drama at Ravenhill culminated in the most unlikely of finishes.

While the scoreline suggests an emphatic victory, this compelling match told a different story. The night had begun with the disappointing news that Ulster would start their Heineken Cup campaign without Nick Williams or their talisman, Stephen Ferris. Suddenly their European opener had taken on a much more arduous complexion.

The French visitors will have been encouraged by their start. The hosts were penalised when a poor clearance kick from Paul Marshall was followed a powerful Castres' scrum. Teulet successfully added the three points.

Ulster's response was immediate. The home pack marched into the opposition 22 and, in the ensuing onslaught, the Frenchmen were caught offside. Jackson successfully landed his kick to level the scoreline.

Last year's beaten finalists had begun to find their rhythm. Ulster's backs started to play with the dynamism that has been the hallmark of their performances in recent weeks. A poor Castres' kick was swept up by Jared Payne who went on an electric run, before getting the ball away for Andrew Trimble to score in the corner. Jackson successfully converted from the most acute of angles.

The visitors responded with determination and were rewarded with a penalty on ten minutes. Bernard missed the resulting kick, however.

Ulster then upped the tempo, using their three-quarter line to devastating effect. The home side were awarded another penalty on 15 minutes, following a series of incisive runs. Again the boot of Jackson proved deadly accurate, making it 13-3.

By this stage, Ulster were looking dangerous, the fluidity of their game testament to the manner in which Mark Anscombe has inculcated the team with southern hemisphere skill levels.

Trimble was unlucky not to add to the tally, having been penalised for holding on in the Castres' 22. But Paul Marshall did extend the lead on 27 minutes, with Jackson taking the score to 20.

But Castres weren't finished. Their forwards rallied and forced their way into the Ulster 22. A series of drives ended with Marc Andreu taking a cross field kick to score. Teulet added the two points. Fittingly it was the home side that ended the half stronger, with Jackson slotting a penalty on 35.

The second half commenced with Ulster hungry to achieve the bonus point. That ambition took a step closer on 42 minutes, when Marshall burrowed over from close range. Jackson missed the conversion.

Shortly thereafter, Ulster spurned the chance to go to the corner and added another three points. At that stage, the fourth try looked a mere formality.

But Castres fought back. Marcel Garvey scored on 52 minutes after sustained pressure by his forwards. Teulet converted to make the score 31-17.

Ulster made their task much more difficult when prop Tom Court was sin-binned on 57 minutes. The decision seemed to galvanise the 14 men, however, and Jackson added another penalty on 61 minutes.

Ulster's quest for the fourth try was impeded by a conservative game plan. Captain Johann Muller repeatedly turned down the chance to go to the corner, preferring to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The substitution of Tommy Bowe seemed to disrupt their impetus further as the chase for the fourth try became increasingly desperate. The home team kicked to the corner on 77 minutes, but gave away a penalty with the line at their mercy. Castres' forwards defended stoutly, and it appeared as if Ulster were destined to rue their missed chances. But cometh the hour, cometh the man. Deep into injury time, a poor Casters' kick gifted the ball to Ruan Pienaar who sliced through the Castres' cover to score. The elusive bonus-point had been achieved, sending Ravenhill into raptures.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: P Marshall 2, Pienaar, Trimble
Cons: Jackson 3
Pens: Jackson 5

For Castres:
Tries: Andreu, Garvey
Cons: Teulet 2
Pen: Teulet

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Stephen Ferris, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johan Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Castres: 15 Romain Teulet, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Seremaia Bai, 12 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Thierry Lacrampe, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Yannick Caballero, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Matthias Rolland, 3 Michaël Coetzee, 2 Mathieu Bonello, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Grégory Marmoiton, 18 Mihaïta Lazar, 19 Iosefa Tekori, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Paul Bonnefond, 23 Thomas Sanchou.

Referee: Andrew Small

By Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs SaleExeter vs Sale Preview
Bath vs WorcesterBath vs Worcester Preview
Wasps vs GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Preview
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Connacht vs MunsterConnacht vs Munster Preview
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Waratahs vs BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Preview
Sharks vs CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Preview
Stormers vs LionsStormers vs Lions Preview
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders 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
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers2064
4Bath1959
5Harlequins2058