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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 14 November, 2018
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Ulster lift the gloom with big bonus-point win over play-off rivals Edinburgh

Three first-half tries paved the way for the province’s first win in four games.

Charles Piutau holds off Phil Burleigh.
Charles Piutau holds off Phil Burleigh.
Image: Craig Watson/INPHO

Edinburgh 20

Ulster 32

THE TURBULENT TIMES at Ulster got at least a bit of a reprieve when they finally came good on the field with a bonus-point win over the side they are chasing for the final end of season play-off spot.

After all their recent problems, this was a chance for them to get back to rugby matters, giving themselves a shot at that Guinness Pro14 quarter-final and, if that fails, improve their chances of at least getting a play-off for a Champions Cup place.

Ulster are now eight points behind Edinburgh with a game in hand, though a tough run-in will also play its part.

When Ulster took the lead  in the opening quarter, it was clear the recovery message had been heard loud and clear, Charles Piutau, the fullback, instrumental in both the tries, laying on the break for the first with a magnificent offload to Jacob Stockdale, who put Darren Cave in, and then finishing the second when recycling pressure had left an overlap.

It was exactly the confidence booster they needed. Suddenly everything seemed to be flowing their way, with Edinburgh, who had won in Belfast a few weeks ago, making all the mistakes while the men in white took advantage.

A lineout on the home 10-yard line gave them the chance to add to their lead with Stockdale sweeping across from the blindside wing to make the extra man with his inside pass handing John Cooney an easy canter in for the try.

Jacob Stockdale tackles Blair Kinghorn Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

Edinburgh clawed their way back into the game when Duncan Weir, who had kicked two earlier penalties, took advantage of the defensive muddle from a messed up lineout to go all way for a solo score, cancelled out after the break by Cooney’s first penalty to restore the two-score cushion.

They needed it too. Edinburgh’s scrum was starting to be a real problem for Ulster and when they won a penalty under the visitors’ posts they opted for the set-piece, getting a penalty try the second time of asking.

That brought the Scots back within two points of the visitors, but Cooney settled Irish nerves with a second penalty as the game went into the final quarter and then Iain Henderson powered over for the bonus-point score.

Edinburgh scorers:

Tries: Duncan Weir, Pen try
Conversions: Duncan Weir [1 from 1]
Penalties: Duncan Weir [2 from 2]

Ulster:

Tries: Darren Cave, Charles Piutau, John Cooney, Iain Henderson
Conversions: John Cooney [3 from 4]
Penalties: John Cooney [2 from 2]

EDINBURGH: Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, Mark Bennett, Phil Burleigh (Chris Dean, 50), Duhan van der Merwe; Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Sean Kennedy, 60); Jordan Lay (Rory Sutherland, 55), Stuart McInally (Neil Cochrane, 60), Simon Berghan (WP Nel, 55), Ben Toolis (Lewis Carmichael, 55), Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Viliame Mata (Cornell du Preez, 55).

ULSTER: Charles Piutau, Louis Ludik (Tommy Bowe, 38); Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney; Andy Warwick, Rory Best (C) (Rob Herring, 74), Tom O’Toole (Rodney Ah You, 60), Matthew Dalton (Alan O’Connor, 46), Iain Henderson, Matt Rea, Nick Timoney (Sean Reidy, 72), Jean Deysel.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

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Lewis Stuart

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