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Full-Time: Aironi 20-46 Ulster
13:30 – 13.30 – Welcome to our live coverage of Ulster’s Heineken Cup clash with Aironi. Brian McLaughlin makes just one change to the side that beat the same opposition at Ravenhill last week, Tom Court replace Paddy McAllister and lining up alongside Rory Best and John Afoa…
13:32 – 13.32 – Here are the line-ups:-
Aironi: Trevisan; Sinoti, Masi, Pizarro, Venditti; Orquera, Keats; Perugini, Ongaro, Romano; Geldenhuys, Bortolami; Cattina, Favaro, Sole.
Replacements: D’Apice, de Marchi, Staibano, Biagi, Ferrarini, Tebaldi, Olivier, Quartaroli.
Ulster: A D’Arcy; A Trimble, D Cave, N Spence, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa; J Muller (capt), D Tuohy; S Ferris, C Henry, P Wannenburg.
Replacements: N Brady, P McAllister, A Macklin, T Barker, R Diack, P Marshall, P Jackson, S Terblanche.
13:37 – 13.37 – Aironi 0-0 Ulster: We’re up and running at the Stadio Brianteo and Ulster have already had a try disallowed by the TMO. Andrew Trimble failed to get the requisite touch on the ball…
13:40 – 13.40 – Aironi 0-7 Ulster: Same scenario again, but this time the try is awarded to the Irish international. It was never in doubt, the ref was just unsighted. Humphreys adds the extras to Trimble’s try and Ulster are up and running.
13:44 – 13.44 – Aironi 0-7 Ulster: Afoa is driving Ulster on and on, they are running riot over the Aironi defence. He starts the move that sees Johann Muller get free but he is thwarted at the last. If the Irish province keep this up there could be a cricket score. Ten minutes gone.
13:52 – 13.52 – Aironi 0-10 Ulster: It’s long but but it’s good as Humphreys batters over a penalty.
13:54 – 13.54 – Aironi 3-10 Ulster: We may have a game after all as Ulster are penalised. Orquera scores his first penalty of the game and Aironi are on the scoreboard. Ulster immediately rally – Trimble is really up for this game – and the visitors are applying the pressure…
13:58 – 13.58 – Aironi 3-17 Ulster: A brilliant rolling maul from Ulster, a tremendous piece of teamwork, and the referee decides that they can only be stopped illegally. A penalty try is awarded. A remarkable variety in the Ulster attack.
14:01 – 14.01 – Aironi 3-17 Ulster: A desperate attempt at a drop goal from Orquera does not come off. They’re fizzling out, never building the phases they need to bother Ulster. Meanwhile, more great work from Afoa who charges down the fly-half’s follow up effort.
14:08 – 14.08 – Aironi 3-20 Ulster: Just to remind you of the standings, Ulster lead Leicester by a point but trail Clermont by a point. It’s tight in Pool 4. Leicester must travel to Ravenhill while McLaughlin’s side need to go to France. Meanwhile, Ferris drives forward as Ulster use the short side to good effect. Ian Humphreys will take a relatively simple penalty.
14:13 – 14.13 – Aironi 3-20 Ulster: Aironi are forced back into their own 22 by a very poor pass from Sinoti Sinoti. They give away a penalty and Ulster have a penalty on offer from good game management. Muller chooses an attacking line-out and they find themselves two metres from the line…
14:14 – 14.14 – Aironi 3-27 Ulster: …and Tom Court celebrates his new two-year deal with a try from the rolling maul. Humphreys with the conversion. This is too easy – 24 points in the difference.
14:17 – 14.17 – Half-Time: Aironi 3-27 Ulster: The referee blows the whistle for half-time. Ulster can be very pleased with 40 successful minutes.
14:33 – 14.33 – Aironi 3-27 Ulster: We’re back in action as Aironi kick off into the Monza sun..
14:38 – 14.38 – Aironi 3-27 Ulster: Aironi are not short on effort but they don’t have the quality to trouble Ulster – the Italian side’s handling has been poor all game. However, a poor kick from Darren Cave gives Aironi the advantage…
14:41 – 14.41 – Aironi 3-27 Ulster: Ulster have lost their last five games on the road – how important will this victory be for them? That’s assuming they’ll win. But they will. Quite easily.
14:48 – 14.48 – Aironi 3-27 Ulster: Bortolami sustains a head injury and is forced off to be patched up. Meanwhile, Humphreys frees Paddy Jackson but it comes to nothing. Ulster, suddenly, look a bit laboured.
14:53 – 14.53 – Aironi 10-27 Ulster: No points on the board since half-time. The crowd are trying to urge the home side on but they’re not making any inroads on the Ulster defence… But hang on! Aironi have their first try! It’s quality play as Orquera plays in Sinoti and he goes over. We may have a game. Great conversion from Orquera too.
14:58 – 14.58 – Aironi 15-27 Ulster: Wow! Roberto Quartaroli intercepts a sloppy Ulster ball and tears up the field for Aironi’s second try. This is turning into quite the match. Aironi’s opportunism may just see them take something from the game.
15:03 – 15.03 – Aironi 15-27 Ulster: The flow is all with Aironi as they rampage towards the Ulster 22. Sinoti Sinoti, so impressive so far, makes a rare error to hand possession back to their opponents. 14 minutes remain as Paddy Jackson receives treatment for a knee injury. He is eventually helped off the park and it does not look good.
15:05 – 15.05 – Aironi 15-27 Ulster: Ulster move Stephen Ferris to inside centre. They need to get to five or six phases and gain some territory if they are to even register a score in the second half. They’ve been poor since half-time, ceding the ball to Aironi far too often.
15:09 – 15.09 – Aironi 15-34 Ulster: That should be that – Craig Gilroy goes over after some fine possession play. Simple and effective and a fine hand off from Terblanche. Ruan Pienaar scores the conversion. Eight minutes remaining. That’s the bonus point too.
15:14 – 15.14 – Aironi 20-34 Ulster: Sinoti twists and turns before offloading to Scottish Italian George Biagi. Naas Olivier’s attempted conversion is way off the mark though.
15:17 – 15.17 – Aironi 20-41 Ulster: Anything Aironi can do, Ulster can do better. Robbie Diack intercepts the ball and the dynamic back-rower goes over. Another conversion from Pienaar. Once again, Ulster manage 40+ points against the Italian side.
15:22 – 15.22 – Aironi 20-46 Ulster: Adam Macklin finishes the match off in style. A great end to the game as both sides keep the game alive, and the ball is moved out to the Ulster replacement. At the end of this game, Pienaar misses the conversion but it doesn’t matter.