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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 2 April, 2020

Poor first-half performance from Ulster proves costly against Edinburgh

The northern province trailed by 18 points at half-time.

Edinburgh 28

Ulster 17

Lewis Stuart reports from Murrayfield

ULSTER’S DISMAL RUN continued in Scotland as their team, hit by Ireland call-ups and a lengthy injury list, found themselves second best to Edinburgh, a team five places below them in the Guinness PRO12.

They did manage a comeback late in the game but could not rescue the result after a first half that could have gone much worse.  They struggled through the first hour, conceding the first score after only three minutes and more at regular intervals from there on.

There had to be questions about the defence in all of them, a simple inside ball and missed tackle putting Viliame Mata, the Fijian sevens specialist, in for the first try, then they failed to get bodies to the breakdown to allow Damien Hoyland, the Edinburgh wing, in for touchdown number two.

Sean Reidy wins the line-out It's now three consecutive Pro12 losses for Ulster. Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

Add three penalties for sloppy ruck offences, none of them when the team were under pressure, one kicked by Blair Kinghorn and two by Duncan Weir, and the Scots had a comfortable lead at the break.

Ulster’s only score had been a penalty from Ruan Pienaar, they also squandered another kickable chance when they ran the ball and knocked on.

The second half started no better with Edinburgh going blind off a turning scrum for Michael Allen, a former Ulster player, put Magnus Bradbury in for the third home try.

Even when Ulster did think they had scored, Charles Piutau, the full back, getting to a clever cup form Pienaar, it was ruled he had knocked on as he went for the ball.

Damien Hoyland scores a try Three unanswered tries left Ulster with a mountain to climb. Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

That was the cue for Ulster to start turning on the style with Pienaar, pulling the strings. It another clever chip from him that bounced kindly to fool the home defence and sent Aaron Cairns, the replacement wing in for the comeback try.

Then Pienaar, who by now had moved to fly half, timed his pass perfectly to send Jason Stockdale, another replacement, in for the score that hinted a dramatic comeback might be on the cards. It was too little too late, however as the Scots held out for a shock win.

Edinburgh scorers:

Tries: Mata, Hoyland, Bradbury

Conversions: Tovey [2 from 3]

Penalties: Kinghorn [1 from 1], Weir [2 from 2]

Ulster scorers:

Tries: Cairns, Stockdale

Conversions: Pienaar [2 from 2]

Penalties: Pienaar [1 from 1]

EDINBURGH: B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, C Dean (S Hidalgo-Clyne, 75′), P Burleigh, T Brown (M Allen, 41′); J Tovey (D Weir, 23′-35′, 66′), S Kennedy. J Cosgrove (K Whyte, 70′), N Cochrane (C) (S McInally, 62′), M McCallum (F Arregui, 59′), F McKenzie (L Carmichael, 66′), B Toolis, V Mata (C Du Preez, 48′), J Ritchie (C Du Preez, 34′-41′), M Bradbury.

ULSTER: C Piutau; T Bowe (A Cairns, 64′), L Marshall, S Windsor (P Marshall, 64′), R Lyttle, B Herron (J Stockdale, 43′), R Pienaar; K McCall (A Warwick, 54′), R Herring (capt), W Herbst (K Ross, 41′-64′), D Tuohy (C Joyce, 41′), F van der Merwe (R Diack, 43′), P Browne , C Ross, S Reidy.

Referee: A Brace (Ireland)

Attendance: 5,336

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About the author:

Lewis Stuart

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