Payne paves way for Ulster

Leinster 7 Ulster 10

Payne paves way for Ulster

A second-minute try from the impressive Jared Payne helped to provide the visitors with a solid early foundation, and Ulster defence coach Jonny Bell felt the game was exactly what was required ahead of a tricky Pro12 opener away to Scarlets.

“It was a great exercise. A great exercise for both teams. Two pretty strong sides starting up, and then it was a bit of a mix and match towards the end. From our perspective, we have the utmost respect for Leinster,” Bell remarked.

Ulster hit the ground running when Payne squeezed through in the right-corner after full-back Louis Ludik had fallen just short of the Leinster line. A superb touchline conversion by Ian Humphreys (who has returned to the province for a second spell) created further daylight between the teams, and although Leinster made some positive breaks into enemy territory, a 31st minute penalty from the former London Irish No 10 helped Ulster to develop a 10-0 interval buffer.

The introduction of several fresh legs added impetus to the Leinster play, though, and just eight minutes after the restart, hooker Bryan Byrne drove over. A flawless bonus kick from Ian Madigan subsequently threw down the gauntlet to Ulster.

Scorers for Leinster: B Byrne try, I Madigan con.

Scorers for Ulster: J Payne try, I Humphreys pen, con.

LEINSTER: Z Kirchner; F McFadden, B Macken, S Crosbie, D Fanning; J Gopperth, L McGrath; C Healy, B Byrne, M Ross; K McLaughlin, M McCarthy; J Conan, S Jennings, S O’Brien.

Replacements: D Leavy for O’Brien (18-22 & 49), C Kelleher for Kirchner, M McGrath for Macken, S Coghlan-Murray for Fanning, I Madigan for Gopperth, I Boss for L McGrath, M Bent for Healy, T Denton for Conan (all h-t), B Marshall for McCarthy (46), T Furlong for Ross (52), T Daly for McFadden, T Moran for Byrne, J Van Der Flier for Jennings (all 59), G Thornbury for Leavy (64).

ULSTER: L Ludik; M Allen, J Payne, S Olding, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, P Marshall; A Warwick, R Herring, W Herbst; D Tuohy, F van der Merwe; R Diack, S Reidy, R Wilson.

Replacements: R Scholes for Allen (18-26), D Fitzpatrick for Herbst (36), Scholes for Olding (38), R Andrew for Ludik, R Murphy for Warwick, N Williams for Wilson (all h-t), S O’Hagan for Humphreys (49), J Stockdale for Scholes, A O’Connor for van der Merwe (both 52), C Ross for Reidy (55), J Andrew for Herring, N McComb for Tuohy (both 64), M Heaney for Marshall, C Black for Murphy, B Ross for Fitzpatrick, L Stevenson for O’Connor (all 67), Ludik for Payne (70), M McComish for Diack, C Joyce for C Ross (both 71), K McCall for Williams (74).

Referee: G Clancy (IRFU).

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