Ulster 24 Edinburgh 18: Despite a ragged second half in which they failed to change the scoreboard, a more confident Ulster shrugged off their losing streak with a bonus-point win over Edinburgh at Kingspan Stadium last night.
Tries by Paul Marshall, Darren Cave, Louis Ludik and Jacob Stockdale had the game more or less wrapped up by the interval as Ulster led 24-10.
However, along with the worrying sight of Charles Piutau limping off with a leg injury, the second half saw errors abundant, allowing injury-hit Edinburgh to come right back into the game.
Typically of late, Ulster began with an unforced error which allowed Edinburgh to take a second-minute lead. Scrum-half Paul Marshall kicked directly into touch from the defensive kick-off and after a flurry of rucks, and a few missed tackles, the visitor’s No8 Magnus Bradbury crashed over in the corner.
However, the lively Marshall made up for his mistake soon after when, after continuous pressure, he was on hand to skip over at the posts, with Peter Nelson adding the extras. In the 19th minute, after a bulldozing charge by big right wing Jacob Stockdale had sucked in the Edinburgh defence, the ball was flashed left and Cave was on hand to dot down for Ulster.
Then, Piutau took the ball wide on the left, sprinted clear and left the Edinburgh defence for dead with his dancing feet before giving Ludik a clear run-in to the line, following which a team effort saw Stockdale add a fourth try.
Ulster took their foot off the pedal on the run-up to half-time with Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally crashing over, and they struck again in the second half through Hoyland. Then when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne rifled over a penalty to make it 24-18, there were worrying signs, but Ulster hung by their finger nails.
Scorers for Ulster:
Marshall, Cave, Ludik, Stockdale tries; Nelson 2 cons Edinburgh: Bradbury, McInally, Hoyland tries; Hidalgo-Clyne pen
L Ludik, J Stockdale, D Cave (McCloskey, 40), S Olding, C Piutau (Bowe, 50), P Nelson, P Marshall (Shanahan, 67);
A Warwick (Black, 55), J Andrew, R Lutton (Herbst, 40), K Treadwell (Browne, 63), A O’Connor (Murphy, 74) , R Diack, C Henry (capt), M Coetzee (Reidy, 60).
B Kinghorn (Scholes, 43), D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh(Allen, 65, Burleigh, 70), T Brown, J Tovey, S Kennedy (Hidalgo-Clyne, 49); J Cosgrove , S NcInally (Turney, 56 (capt), M McCallum (Beavon, 63), F McKenzie (Carmichael, 63), B Toolis, V Mata (Fihaki, 63) , J Ritchie (Appiah, 67), M Bradbury.
Nigel Owens (WRU).
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