Ulster 20 Scarlets 18.
Ulster continued their spate of burglaries by stealing yet another game at Ravenhill on Friday night. This time it was Scarlets who left the Fortress wondering how this one got away.
Ian Humphreys made a welcome return to the ranks scoring two opportunist tries with Pienaar converting both and adding two penalties, though the referee and the fourth official probably had a bigger say on the outcome of this game than any of the players.
However this game was mainly about getting a run out for the team before next weekend’s encounter at Milton Keynes and the moral building run of wins will no doubt be used to further enhance confidence during the week. It is hard to beat a team who thinks they cant lose, however patchy the form behind our recent run.
The main objective for Ulster was to get all the key players through the game with no injuries and that was achieved with Humphreys lasting the whole match and Botha getting a solid sixty minutes. There is plenty to work on and there is plenty of improvements to be made but most of the improvements needed are on sharpness and intensity and those should come easily enough next weekend as the occasion of the game takes over. We all know Ulster, individually and collectively, can play better and next weekend will be just the occasion to show it.
Despite Ulster’s stuttering performance it never really felt that we’d lose this one, so blasé have we become over recent weeks, and that continued confidence will count a lot more than the indifferent display we witnessed last night.
So the countdown is over and the build up begins in earnest.
Are we in good shape? Yes we are. Bring on Northampton. We’re ready!
Seven is a magic number.
Ulster: (15-9): Adam D’Arcy; Andrew Trimble, Nevin Spence, Paddy Wallace, Simon Danielli; Ian Humphreys, Ruan Pienaar; (1-8): Tom Court, Rory Best, BJ Botha, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Willie Faloon, Pedrie Wannenburg; (16-23): Andi Kyriacou, Paddy McAllister, Declan Fitzpatrick, Tim Barker, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Ian Whitten, Craig Gilroy.