Planet Rugby

Ulster floored by Northampton

15th December 2012 19:59

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Stephen Myler

Five points: Stephen Myler

Ulster finally had their impressive winning run ended by Northampton on Saturday as the English side hit back with a gritty 10-9 victory at Ravenhill.

In a surprise result, the Saints showed immense character to bounce back from last week's 25-6 defeat with a performance that clearly delighted director of rugby Jim Mallinder at the final whistle.

Northampton were unrecognisable from the outfit that fell so timidly last Friday as Ulster were well-and-truly under the cosh in the early sparring.

They fully deserved their opening points from Stephen Myler on seven minutes as it was an opening that showed Ulster they meant business.

That stirred their hosts though as after Darren Cave's break close to the right touchline, Ulster finally had some possession and territory that cooled the red hot start from the Saints. It was abundantly clear though that Northampton were going to be a much tougher proposition this time.

Saints almost emphasised that point when hooker Mikey Haywood - in for the suspended Dylan Hartley - broke on the left wing to take his side to within five metres. And the pressure finally told on seventeen minutes as lovely handling down the line from Soane Tonga'uiha and Ken Pisi led to number eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze fending off Andrew Trimble en route to the try-line. Fly-half Myler's conversion was solid so Northampton were now ten ahead.

Ulster didn't have thirteen straight wins under their belt for nothing though and in the blink of an eye they were almost going over for their first try of the night. It came from a Myler error as his chip kick was charged down and collected by Nick Williams who set off downfield. However, Rory Best's offload did not find his intended man so Saints survived with just three points going against them for a resulting offence. Paddy Jackson slotted to make it 3-10.

The home fly-half missed the opportunity to double his tally on 34 minutes after Tom Court followed up last week's personal win over Brian Mujati with the first points in the fight with Paul Doran-Jones. Jackson did make amends five minutes later though from the tee.

Northampton continued their fine effort in the second-half and even though Jackson reduced the gap to a single point three minutes after the break, the Saints still had the bit between their teeth and continued to apply the pressure in a meeting that was becoming tense.

In fact there was to be no further score despite Ulster's efforts, the hosts almost scoring a break-out try when Ruan Pienaar and replacement Craig Gilroy combined from halfway until exceptional cover defence and breakdown work from Jamie Elliott saved the day for Saints.

That was what he and many watching thought but a moment of brilliance from another substitute, Paul Marshall, created the grandstand finish at Ravenhill. The busy scrum-half was ordered to back himself down the blindside in his own 22 and promptly raced through a gap and up to halfway before handing on to Tommy Bowe, who slipped badly on the pitch.

However, lock Mark Sorenson then failed to release the ball in the tackle and that led to Pienaar having the chance to win it. He failed to succeed in what was an off-night for the Springbok and Northampton ultimately held on for a result that keeps their hopes alive.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Pen: Jackson 3

For Northampton:
Try: Van Velze
Con: Myler
Pen: Myler

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson , 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Nick Williams, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Calum Clark, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Luther Burrell.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Jonathan Mason (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs Tasman19:35
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
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
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26