Planet Rugby

Penalty try denies Zebre first win

18th November 2012 15:54

Share:

Paddy Wallace Ulster pro12 2012

Try for Ulster: Paddy Wallace

Ulster needed a dubious penalty try in the dying minutes to edge past Zebre 27-25 in Sunday's PRO12 clash in Parma.

Ulster maintained their unbeaten start to the season to remain top of the Pro12, but only by the skin of their teeth.

In this rearranged fixture, which was scheduled following the Nevin Spence tragedy in September, the league leaders had to utilise their full quotient of mental strength to emerge victorious.

With the Treviso fixture looming on Friday, the Ulster management decided to remain in Italy making this visit, to all intents and purposes, a mini-tour.

Ulster started in the game in determined fashion, displaying an intention to pursue an expansive game and bring their broken field runners into play.

Ulster's forwards endeavoured to bring the ball carrying intensity, which has been so apparent thus far this season. The league leaders conceded far too many penalties early on, however, and allowed Zebre to secure a foothold in the game.

It was Ulster, though; who opened the scoring on ten minutes when Niall O'Connor kicked a penalty after the Zebre defence had been caught offside.

The home team bounced straight back and after Ulster were caught napping at the restart, an incredulous Tebaldi nipped in to score.

Ulster increased the pressure thereafter, but were unable to convert possession into scoring opportunities. It was clear that Zebre were determined not to be mere canon fodder, as clearly demonstrated at the breakdown, which was being fiercely contested.

Another O'Connor penalty on 26 minutes re-established Ulster's lead, and made it 6-3 to the visitors. By this stage, Ulster's well drilled defensive unit were beginning to pin Zebre back in their own 22.

An O'Connor penalty on 34 minutes made it 9-5 to the visitors. Slowly but surely, however, the home team were beginning to find their attacking momentum. Zebre came rushing back at Ulster, and some concerted pressure saw Halangahu respond with a penalty on the stroke of half time.

Ulster were determined to press home their scrimmaging advantage, but it was Zebre who began the second half the stronger and Halangahu scored a try on 43 minutes, having negotiated some appalling Ulster defence.

Ulster responded immediately and a good scrum on 48 minutes saw O'Connor land another penalty to make it 13-12 to the Italians.

The home back row was now in the ascendancy and the huge South African Dries Van Schalkwyk extended their lead on 53 minutes. U

llster's unbeaten record was now in real jeopardy. Paddy Wallace scored on 57 minutes to offer some hope. Van Schalkwyk seemed to have killed the game on 65 minutes when he completed his brace, bursting though the non-existent Ulster back row defence.

Incredibly, the Italian minnows were on the verge of a bonus point victory. Ulster were their own worst enemies, and made some horrendous errors with their restarts.

But, not for the first time this season, their pack dug them out of a hole. A destructive scrum on 74 minutes saw referee Neil Patterson award a dubious penalty try.

In the final minutes Zebre tried desperately to secure the win they thoroughly deserved. But Ulster's tenacious defence held on.

Ulster may have won again, but it was their worst performance of the season. Fortuitous indeed, but it was Zebre who came within minutes of making Pro 12 history.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries: Tebaldi, Halangahu, van Schalkwyk 2
Con: Halangahu
Pen: Halangahu
Yellow cards: Pratichetti

For Ulster:
Tries: Wallace, Penalty try
Cons: O'Connor
Pens: O'Connor 5

Zebre: 15 David Odiete, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Samuele Pace, 11 Alessandro Castagnoli, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Filippo Cristiano, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Josh Sole, 4 Filippo Cazzola, 3 Luca Redolfini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Matias AgueroReplacements: 16 Andrea de Marchi, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Flavio Tripodi, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Nicola Belardo, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Ross McCann, 23 Nicola Cattina.

Ulster: 15 Ricky Andrew, 14 Mike Allen, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Chris Cochrane, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Michael Heaney, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Mike McComish, 6 Nick Williams, 5 Neil McComb, 4 Robbie Diack, 3 John Afoa, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Callum Black. Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Tom Court, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 James Simpson, 20 Alistair Birch, 21 Blane McIlroy, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Peter Nelson.

By Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615