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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 27 January 2021
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Henderson stretchered off as Ulster injuries mount during win over Edinburgh

Two first half tries were enough for Ulster to take four points against a side who started the night a place above them in the table.

Ulster 14

Edinburgh 7

Neil Carnduff reports from Kingspan Stadium

ULSTER EMERGED VICTORIOUS from a meaty scrap with fellow mid-tablers Edinburgh, but were left counting the cost of potentially serious injuries to four key players.

Director of Rugby Les Kiss will be concerned by the knocks sustained by Iain Henderson, Darren Cave, Peter Nelson and Dan Tuohy, particularly given the impending crunch European ties against Toulouse.

On the Pro12 front however, the win, sealed by a penalty try and a Rory Scholes score, elevates the province to fifth place in the standings, outside of the top four only by dint of an inferior points difference to Leinster.

Ulster enjoyed good early pressure with a steal at the first Edinburgh scrum and Nick Williams’ charge-down of Phil Burleigh’s clearance five metres from the try-line.

Despite a protracted pause for treatment to an ominous-looking injury to Iain Henderson, the ensuing line-out saw Chris Henry peel off the back of the maul only for visiting skipper Mike Coman to illegally prevent the score from an offside position, securing the penalty try.

Iain Henderson goes off injured Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

Cave soon succumbed to a knock, with Louis Ludik joining Henderson’s replacement Clive Ross as an early entrant. Yet Ulster ploughed on undeterred, notching their second score on 11 minutes. Ludik was heavily involved, picking up from Jackson and breaking the line to find Scholes, whose clever dummy made him the space before his pace took him to the line ahead of three Edinburgh chasers. Paddy Jackson slotted his second conversion of the evening.

Clumsy handling from the Scots gifted the ball to Tuohy twice in a matter of minutes, before another fine break led this time by Nelson from full-back got Ulster to within metres of try number three before a spill of their own.

Another serious-looking injury – this time to Nelson – brought Stuart McCloskey into the fray on the half-hour, and it wasn’t long before Scholes, the recipient of a heavy bang to the head in the tackle, joined his battered team-mates on the sidelines, temporarily replaced by Paul Marshall in a wing cameo.

Rory Scholes scores a try Scholes finishing off his score. Source: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

The mercurial scrum-half’s impact was instantaneous, as he tore up the wing with his first ball, putting Ruan Pienaar in try-scoring territory before an eventual knock-on – from Marshall himself – blighted the move and the score remained 14 – 0 at the break.

A smart backward flick of the ball from scrum-half Sean Kennedy set the wheels in motion for Edinburgh’s first points on 47 minutes, with Ulster-born John Andress carrying well and Number Eight Cornell Du Preez touching down in the corner.

Jack Cuthbert converted but Ulster wasted little time in pouring down the other end, both McCloskey and Ross instrumental in a right-wing raid which ended with the centre adjudged by the TMO to have been held up over the line.

Ian Davies watches the TMO before awarding Ulster a penalty try You win some, you lose some... Edinburgh players watch as TMO shows incident that brought penalty try. Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

Despite some complications at the five-metre scrum, and this time Ross being held up at the first attempt, Ulster recycled well through multiple phases and Jackson was unlucky that his darting diagonal run fell just short of taking him to the line.

With Tuohy hobbling off as Ulster’s fourth casualty on the hour, a once-more reshuffled Ulster struggled to impose their rhythm on the match for a good 10 minutes, but when they did, on 73 minutes, it was only TMO Alan Rogan and referee Ian Davies who denied Luke Marshall a try on his return to first team action, deciding after much deliberation that Chris Henry had been guilty of some illegal holding in the build-up to the score.

Scorers

Ulster

Tries: Penalty Try, R Scholes

Conversions: P Jackson (2)

Edinburgh:

Tries: C Du Preez

Conversions: Cuthbert

Ulster: Peter Nelson; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Rory Scholes; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar:  Kyle McCall, Rob Herring (c), Ricky Lutton, Dan Tuohy, Franco van der Merwe, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Nick Williams

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Clive Ross, Paul Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Louis Ludik

EdinburghJack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife, Chris Dean, Matt Scott, Will Helu; Phil Burleigh, Sean Kennedy:Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Alex Toolis, Mike Coman (c), John Hardie, Cornell Du Preez

Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Rory Sutherland, John Andress, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Nathan Fowles, Mike Allen, Blair Kinghorn

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About the author:

Neil Carnduff

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