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Impressive Ulster hammer Edinburgh on the road to seal home quarter-final

Ulster earned a four-try bonus-point win over fellow play-off chasers Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

Rob Lyttle celebrates scoring a try for the visitors.
Rob Lyttle celebrates scoring a try for the visitors.
Image: Craig Watson/INPHO

Edinburgh 7

Ulster 29

Lewis Stuart reports from Murrayfield

ULSTER BOUNCED BACK in style from their recent disappointments to secure a home quarter-final it the Guinness Pro14 as they won comfortably against error-strewn Edinburgh at the home of Scottish rugby.

Dan McFarland’s men secured the scoring bonus point late in the game but by then had already done more than enough to settle a result that, with Benetton Treviso also losing at home to Munster, secured second spot in their conference and that vital home tie.

There had never been any hiding for either side in this game, the winner was likely to make the play-offs and a guaranteed place in the Heineken Champions Cup next season; the loser still had the chance of a play-off for that key spot in Europe but could still be depending on other results.

Kieran Treadwell Kieran Treadwell on the march. Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

It was the Irish who settled more quickly, their nerves eased by an early penalty from John Cooney as Edinburgh looked a bit dazed by the stress they were under.

With the home side making the more mistakes, Stuart McCloskey got his side up to the home goal line with a chip into space and when the ball went loose, Jordi Murphy was first to react, scooping up the ball and diving over for the opening try.

The conversion from Cooney meant they had a 10-point cushion before Edinburgh had fired a shot in anger and there was more joy for the Irish when Jaco van der Walt missed his first shot at goal as the Scots hammered their way back into the game.

The reward came on the stroke of half-time when Billy Burns fired out a huge pass to Robert Baloucoune, the speedster on the wing, who had enough room to go around home full-back Darcy Graham and make it in to score in the corner.

Mark Bennett and Damien Hoyland tackle Stuart McCloskey Mark Bennett and Damien Hoyland tackle Stuart McCloskey. Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

With a 15-point lead at the break, Ulster could afford to soak up the pressure and defy Edinburgh to find a way back, which they threatened to do briefly when John Barclay, their replacement flanker, found a way through. But the visitors had enough control not to let that worry them too much and Burns secured the try bonus point with a couple of minutes left on the clock.

Edinburgh scorers:
Try: John Barclay
Conversion: Hickey 1/1
Penalty: Jaco van der Walt 0/1

Ulster scorers:
Tries: Jordi Murphy, Robert Baloucoune, Rob Lyttle, Billy Burns
Conversion: John Cooney 3/4
Penalty: John Cooney 1/1

Edinburgh: 15. Darcy Graham; 14. Damien Hoyland (George Taylor, 44‘), 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Duhan van der Merwe; 10. Jaco van der Walt (Simon Hickey, 32‘), 9. Henry Pyrgos (Charlie Shiel, 64‘); 1. Pierre Schoeman (Allan Dell, 62‘), 2. Stuart McInally (C)(Ross Ford, 67‘), 3. WP Nel (Simon Berghan, 44‘), 4. Ben Toolis (Callum Hunter-Hill, 67‘), 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. Magnus Bradbury (John Barclay, 49‘), 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Viliame Mata.

Ulster: 15. Jacob Stockdale; 14. Rob Baloucoune (Angus Kernohan, 49‘), 13. Luke Marshall, 12. Stuart McCloskey, 11. Rob Lyttle; 10. Billy Burns (Peter Nelson, 79‘), 9. John Cooney (David Shanahan, 79‘); 1. Eric O’Sullivan (Andrew Warwick, 72‘), 2. Rob Herring (John Andrew, 73‘), 3. Marty Moore (Ross Kane, 10‘), 4. Iain Henderson (C), 5. Kieran Treadwell (Alan O’Connor, 62‘), 6. Nick Timoney (Sean Reidy, 67‘), 7. Jordi Murphy, 8. Marcel Coetzee.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

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Four-try Munster go top with come-from-behind victory in Treviso thriller

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Lewis Stuart

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