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Dublin: 0 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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Pro12: We wanted to use our scrum as a weapon says victorious Court

The Ulster prop feels the 27-19 win over Leinster proves his side are genuine trophy contenders.

Tom Court and Neil McComb were outstanding against Leinster.
Tom Court and Neil McComb were outstanding against Leinster.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

ULSTER PROP TOM COURT may now be surplus to Irish requirements but he delivered a couple of huge psychological blows to Leinster.

Court, absent from international duty since the Six Nations, constantly got the better of Leinster’s Michael Bent and his replacement, Jamie Hagan, at the scrum.

After Ulster’s 27-19 win, the dual-role prop, who started as loosehead, spoke about the boost the team got after disappointing in a 10-9 loss to Northampton Saints last week.

He told the league website, “We got outplayed at home which was very disappointing so the boys were out to prove a point.

“Last time we played these guys [Leinster] was the Heineken final where they put a bit of a score on us.”

Such was the dominance of the home team’s scrum at Ravenhill that referee George Clancy awarded a crucial penalty try just before the break.

If Paddy Jackson and Ruan Pienaar had found their kicking range, Ulster could have been out of sight with plenty of time to spare.

No more double-jobbing

As Suzy Favor Hamilton would tell you, trying to juggle jobs and responsibilities is far from easy.

23 of Court’s 29 test appearances have been off the sub’s bench but the introduction of specialist props means his loose/tighthead gifts are not in demand.

Still, the Australian born forward is not giving up on his international ambitions.

“Other than playing for positions for the Irish team and things like that, it was a point to prove we can beat them.

It’s been a while since we have so it was good for the boys to get one back up and show we are genuine contenders this year, we just need to be more consistent.”

He added, “We’ve been ticking away quite nicely all year, maybe not as well last week as we would have hoped but the scrum’s been our big strong point this year so we just wanted to keep it going and use it as a weapon.”

Cramping the Euro champs

Ulster coach Mark Anscombe, as reported on the IRFU website, praised the “outstanding” work carried out by his scrum.

With the scrum dominating and Rbbie Diack and Neil McComb excelling at the lineout, Ulster were able to employ the towering kicks of Pienaar and the harrying chases of wingers Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy.

“That put pressure on them and we started cramping them down in their own half,” said Anscombe. He added:

If you look at what Leinster have achieved and done over the last couple of years, I tell you we would be pretty happy if we could achieve half of that, that’s for sure.”

The Kiwi coach, in his first season at the province, has warned there will be defeats to add to the Saints loss over the course of the season but he believes his team can challenge for honours on two fronts.

With an 11th league win wrapped up and Leinster 16 points adrift, Anscombe was asked if he felt his coaching was an easy one?

“You think it’s easy?” he asked incredulously. “I don’t think it’s easy.

“I don’t sleep some nights and that’s not easy.”

As it happened: Ulster v Leinster, RaboDirect Pro12

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Patrick McCarry

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