Ulster leave it late in Italy as plucky Zebre pay the penalty

Zebre 25 Ulster 27
Mark Anscombe demanded an improvement in travel arrangements after his drowsy Ulster side were brought to the brink by Zebre yesterday.

In a remarkable game, the league leaders were outscored four fries to two by the Italian whipping boys, and needed a late penalty try to eventually get out of jail.

The absence of their Irish contingent notwithstanding, Ulster were nevertheless out of sorts, and bore little resemblance to the side which has beaten all comers this season.

Their inertia, however, seemed reasonable once Anscombe threw light on their preparation.

“I don’t want to make excuses, but yesterday we spent fourteen hours getting here,” said the relieved New Zealander.

“I think we have to be better as an organisation about how we organise our travel.

“Getting to a hotel at 11 o’clock on the night before a match is not ideal preparation.”

Flagging from the word go, Ulster relied heavily on the boot of Neil O’Connor to keep them in touch on a day when Zebre – still chasing their first ever win – went try-crazy.

They scored four in all, one each for halfbacks Tito Tebaldi and Dan Halangahu complimenting a brace by Andries Van Schalkwyk.

Sandwiched in between, Paddy Wallace scored one of his own for Ulster, but the writing still appeared to be on the wall as the game entered its dying embers.

Cue two collapsed scrums by the Zebre in front of their posts, and a timely intervention by referee Neil Paterson.

Zebre scorers: Tries: Tebaldi, Halangahu, van Schalkwyk 2. Cons: Halangahu. Pens: Halangahu.

ZEBRE: Odiete, Sarto, Pratichetti, Pace, Castagnoli, Halangahu, Tebaldi, Aguero, Manici, Redolfini, Sole, Cazzola, Ferrarini, Cristiano, van Schalkwyk.

Replacements: Perugini for Aguero (52), Tripodi for Redolfini (65), Cattina for Ferrarini (65).

Ulster scorers: Tries: Wallace, Penalty try. Cons: O’Connor. Pens: O’Connor 5.

ULSTER: Andrew, Allen, Payne, Wallace, Cochrane, O’Connor, Heaney, Black, Brady, Afoa, Diack, McComb, Williams, McComish, Wilson.

Replacements: Court for Black (55), Herring for Brady (52).

Referee: A McMenemy (SRFU).


More in this Section

Jamie Heaslip feeling ‘good’ but return still down the track

Johann van Graan determined to slash Munster's penalty count in Leicester return

Tom McCartney relishing Connacht’s festive schedule

We left Leinster off the hook last week, reckons Exeter's Ian Whitten


Breaking Stories

Mauricio Pelelgrino questions commitment of Southampton players

Chris Froome should be suspended, says 'angry' German rival Tony Martin

Klitschko auctions robe containing Joshua fight prediction

Jack Wilshere waiting for Arsenal to make their move with contract talks

Lifestyle

Wishlist: Must-have Christmas gifts and the joy of Ikea

Timing is everything as The Frank and Walters revisit 'Grand Parade'

A question of taste: Eileen O'Shea

Eoghan O'Sullivan's picks his highlights of 2017

More From The Irish Examiner