Planet Rugby

Ulster squeeze past Edinburgh

21st March 2014 21:10

Share:

Glasgow v Ulster Paddy Jackson

Off the tee: Paddy Jackson

Ulster edged out Edinburgh 9-3 in a low-scoring, try-less PRO12 encounter at a rainy Murrayfield in the Scottish capital on Friday.

The hosts got on the scoreboard through a solitary kick by Carl Bezuidenhout, but struggled to turn early promise into points. The Irish province were marginally the superior side, but the match never really developed as a spectacle. The Irishmen will settle for a victory that takes them one step closer to securing a play-off place, however, courtesy of three Paddy Jackson penalties.

It was the hosts that made the better start, making good inroads into Ulster territory. Big forwards like Ross Ford and Roddy Grant tested the mettle of the visitors' defence early on. But Ulster's tacklers were equal to the challenge.

The Scots will have been particularly pleased by their efficiency with ball in hand in the opening minutes of the game. And the hosts earned their reward on 14-minutes when Bezuidenhout slotted the penalty to make it 3-0 to the Murrayfield side. It was the least they deserved for an utterly dominant opening phase.

The home side controlled territory and possession in the opening quarter, with Ulster really struggling to get their hands on the ball. The conditions were quite horrendous, but Edinburgh certainly adapted better to their environment. The Irish visitors weathered the storm, and patiently played their way back into the game.

Thus Jackson levelled proceedings on 25-minutes with a sweetly struck penalty. Despite Edinburgh's early ascendancy, the visiting defence actually absorbed the home pressure reasonably well. It was a fairly attritional and physical game, with the back row battle particularly competitive.

Jackson edged Ulster ahead on 36 minutes when he nailed another kick for the Irish club to make it 3-6. It was a lead they scarcely deserved, but the Ravenhill men won't have been complaining.

The Irish international fly-half had another opportunity to extend his side's advantage two minutes later, but was off-target with the long-range effort. It was a decent first half performance from Edinburgh, but the commitment and defensive organisation of the Ulstermen was the predominant feature.

Both sides made changes for the second half in an effort to inject some impetus into the game, with Nick De Luca and Robbie Diack entering the fray.

But it was Ulster that scored the first points of the half when Jackson converted another penalty attempt on 47-minutes to make it 3-9 to the Irishmen. The Ulster scrum was beginning to gain the upper hand over its Edinburgh counterparts at this stage, and the visitors ground their opponents down.

The Irishmen were starting to enjoy the lion's share of possession, but lacked the necessary cohesion and fluidity in the torrential conditions. Visiting forwards Sean Doyle and Roger Wilson battled away valiantly, but the match failed to offer much in the way of entertainment. It really was turgid and uninspiring fare at times.

It was certainly not an evening for the rugby purists, with the wingers seeing precious little of the ball. This fairly lamentable game of rugby was played on a dreadful pitch, and the hosts will not be sorry to see the turf re-laid.

In the final analysis, Edinburgh will be disappointed that they couldn't translate their early dominance into a much-needed victory. Ulster, on the other hand, will undoubtedly be pleased to have secured a win that cements their play-off ambitions. In truth, little comfort can be taken from such a poor game.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Pen: Bezuidenhout

For Ulster:
Pens: Jackson 3
Yellow Card: Henderson

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Wicus Blauw, 18 Ewan McQuillin, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Nick De Luca

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Michael Heaney, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Ricky Lutton 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Nick Williams, 21 Robbie Diack, 22 Paul Marshall, 23 Stuart McCloskey

Referee: John Lacey (Ire)
Assistant referees: Neil Paterson, Bob Nevins (both Sco)

By Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province Kings
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00