Planet Rugby

Ulster make it 10 out of 10

02nd December 2012 17:45

Share:

Andrew Trimble

Try-scorer: Andrew Trimble

Ulster racked up their tenth straight RaboDirect PRO12 win of the season on Sunday after beating the second-placed Scarlets 19-12 in Llanelli.

With the next phase of their European adventure looming, Mark Anscombe cleverly rotated his panel of players; resting some key personnel.

It was the Scarlets who began the game in superior fashion, with their forwards hitting the rucks with superb intensity. The quality of their early exploits earned the Welshmen a penalty on two minutes, but Aled Thomas was unsuccessful with the resultant kick. Similarly, Paddy Jackson was unable to capitalise on fine work by his pack when he missed a penalty in the sixth minute.

Ulster were beginning to find their rhythm, however, and Jackson secured his team's first points with a penalty on nine minutes to make it 3-0 to the league leaders.

Although decidedly scrappy, the forward contest was compelling, with the breakdown in particular being fiercely contested. Ulster's openside Robbie Diack was making a considerable impact in the contact area, but his contribution notwithstanding, quality ball was hard to come by.

Scarlets fly-half Thomas levelled the contest on 18 minutes after Ulster had been carelessly caught offside. The Scarlets' pack was starting to assert itself, and the home team's mauling game was particularly effective. Their efficiency in this area is surely testament to the influence of former Irish blindside, Simon Easterby, who is emerging as a prodigious young coach.

It was Ulster, however, who looked the more dangerous with ball in hand, and their opening try had certain inevitability to it. Irish winger, Andrew Trimble fortuitously caught a loose ball on 28 minutes and cantered unopposed to the line. It was not his most aesthetically pleasing try, but this team has mastered the art of winning ugly in recent weeks. It was also supremely satisfying for Trimble on a personal level, the Coleraine man being pressurised for his place by the precocious Craig Gilroy.

But yet again Ulster's not so secret weapon was their devastating scrum. Callum Black was particularly effective on the loosehead side and, in so doing, has given his coach a selection headache ahead of next week's seminal game against Northampton Saints. Ulster's scrummaging prowess earned them another penalty on 32 minutes, and the outstanding Jackson effortlessly converted.

Although Ulster were beginning to dominate their battle hardened opponents, their play lacked the fluidity and potency that had been so evident in the early part of the season. It was equally apparent that the league's pace setters had one eye on next weekend's challenge.

The second half was a much more closely contested affair, with the home team increasing their intensity and work rate from their first half efforts. The menace of their new approach was tangible, causing headaches for Ulster's vaunted defence.

It was the mercurial Jackson who opened the scoring on 42 minutes when he successfully converted a penalty. But then came the Scarlets' comeback. Thomas clawed back Ulster's lead on 52 minutes to make it 16-9 to the Ulstermen.

Ulster extended the lead further on 56 minutes to earn a ten point cushion. Their cause was not aided by the sin-binning of Dan Tuohy and that decision galvanised the Scarlets, who frantically laid siege to Ulster's half. But the visitors' defensive line held firm.

Thomas did earn a well deserved losing bonus point with the last kick of the game, but for Ulster another vital win had been secured and they now have a five day turnaround before their biggest game of the season.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Pen: Thomas 4

For Ulster:
Try: Trimble
Con: Jackson
Pen: Jackson 4
Yellow card: Tuohy (64 mins)

Scarlets: 15 Dan Newton, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Gareth Owen, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Johnathan Edwards (c), 6 George Earle, 5 Richard Kelly, 4 Johan Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Deacon Manu, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Craig Price, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Nick Reynolds.

Ulster: 15 Peter Nelson, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson , 7 Robbie Diack, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Nigel McComb, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Tom Court, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Niall O'Connor, 23 Tommy Bowe.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: James Jones (Wales), Chris Williams (Wales)
Television match official: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

By Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London WelshSale vs London Welsh Preview
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
Manawatu vs Southland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter310
2Saracens29
3Bath29
4Leicester Tigers29
5Northampton26