Ulster romped to another bonus point win, this time away to Edinburgh, with Rory Best, Dan Tuohy, Andrew Trimble and Darren Cave all crossing the line for the visitors.
Match highlights are now available here on the BBC.
From listening to this one on the radio it appeared to be a fairly frenetic encounter throughout with periods of good play quickly followed by periods of cack, though in the second half Ulster appeared to put together rather more of the former than the latter.
It was interesting that it was the players that made their appearances through injury to others, rather than first up selection, with the previously discarded Whitten, Faloon and Marshall, acting as the main catalysts for most that was good about the Ulster offensive play. It has to be said that maybe the IRFU have a point about overseas players, on occasion, stagnating the development of Irish players with Faloon and Marshall in particular playing second fiddle to imports.
Of course the counter argument is that they have upped their game due to the increased competition and have learnt from the likes of Wannenburg and Pienaar but then again with proper coaching they may just have got there anyway, or with a bit of belief may have already travelled further in their careers? It is a difficult one but, to me anyway, overseas recruitment does need policed by others rather than by self interested coaches.
The conundrum for Ulster is that this was not the game they wanted to play from their original selection. To date it’s been a smack it up the middle, go into contact, recycle and repeat, eventually working an overlap or one on one to be exploited. All well and good while you can out-muscle your opponents, but it’s a style of play that would only take us a far as the next bigger and stronger pack and it’s a style of play that would see a generation of young Ulster backrow players watch from the sidelines as more and more fresh beef was imported, at five to ten times the cost, from around the world.
With (apparently) Faloon working the breakdown, Marshal darting away round the edges, Whitten and then Wallace avoiding contact, with the rest of the team joining in, Ulster may have stumbled on the style of play they may be able to sustain and one that could possibly take them further over a longer period of time. Importantly, it’s a style that may enable the Ulster Academy to provide players for. It’s also a style of play that we’ve been recommending for the last two seasons but having NOT actually seen this match I might just be imagining that Ulster actually played that way!
At the moment this game has to go down as a bit of a flash in the pan. Whether it’s a genuine development of a more sustainable style will only be determined over time, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if Ulster could go out for the next two games with the confidence that they can outscore their opponents through their own creative play. Providing Wannenburg and Humphreys recover sufficiently it’ll be interesting to see who McLaughlin rolls out for the next two games. Both are valuable players for Ulster but I see Wannenburg as stand in for Ferris and Humphreys as stand in for Pienaar at outhalf. Me, I’d start with Faloon and Marshall and maybe the flash will grow into a flicker!
Will it actually happen? I’d guess no, as I can’t see McLaughlin overcome his preponderance for safety first, but we might see more of it come February.
Ulster (15-9): Stefan Terblanche, Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Craig Gilroy, Ian Humphreys, Ruan Pienaar. (1-8): Tom Court, Rory Best, John Afoa, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry, Pedrie Wannenburg. (16-23): Andi Kyriacou, Callum Black, Adam Macklin, Louis Stevenson, Willie Faloon, Paul Marshall, Paddy Wallace, Adam D’Arcy.
Edinburgh (15-9): Chris Paterson, Tom Brown, Nick De Luca, James King, Tim Visser, Phil Godman, Greig Laidlaw. (1-8): Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Sean Cox, Esteban Lozada, Stuart McInally, Roddy Grant, Netani Talei. (16-23): Alun Walker, Kyle Traynor, Jack Gilding, Grant Gilchrist, Alan MacDonald, Chris Leck, Matt Scott, Jim Thompson
|As it happened.|
You can re-live the whole game by reading through our match coverage below. Start at the bottom and work your way up to get the full effect. It’s just like being there!
21:08 That’s it, game over. Good win whichever way you want to pitch it!
21:07 Penalty to Ulster and they decide to go for the posts to run down the clock. It’s Edinburgh 20 Ulster 42. Impressive second half from Ulster. Gusher and Constable are getting a little excited!
21:05 Afoa and Court off for Black and Macklin and Macklin forces a turnover with his first touch.
21:03 Down to the last five minutes. Should be tackle practice for Ulster from here on in!
21:02 Pienaar slots over the kick. Edinburgh 20 Ulster 39.
21:02 Another break out by Marshall sets up Cave for Ulster’s fourth and bonus point try! Not bad for a lazy fecker!
21:00 Another period of scrappy play results in a penalty to Edinburgh who can now clear.
20:57 Looked like a score there but the ball is knocked on. 5 meter defensive scrum to Edinburgh.
20:57 Penalty to Ulster and with 10 minutes remaining Ulster kick long. Kyriacou and Stevenson on for Ulster. Best and Ferris off. (Tuohy to back row.)
20:56 Twelve minutes remaining and Ulster scrum on the half way line. Scrum seems to be dominant. Kyriacou about to come on for Ulster.
20:54 Nothing comes from the fight and it’s an attacking scrum to Ulster.
20:52 Dragons have beaten Ospreys 21 – 20.
20:52 Line out 8 meters out is good and Ferris is on the charge. He spills the ball and Edinburgh are trying to counter as a fight breaks out!
20:51 Clearance kick goes to Trimble and Ulster back into Edinburgh 22 and its another penalty to the visitors. Kick to touch looking for the fourth try.
20:50 Ulster settling for a concerted effort deep in Edinburgh territory. Afoa drives forward and Ulster pushing for the fourth try, but Edinburgh turnover.
20:48 Wallace is on for Ulster (Whitten off) in the midst of all that and he gets his first touch with a nice break. Attacking inside the Edinburgh 22.
20:46 Frenetic period and it’s a bit of a midfield battle. Eventually Edinburgh force a turnover and the ball is kicked deep into Ulster teritory. Best makes a mess of the line out and Edinburgh score! Kick good score now 20 – 32.
20:43 Ulster defence holding up well and they have turned over Edinburgh yet again. Whitten breaks out and it’s another counter attack.
20:41 High tackle by Ulster gives a penalty to Edinburgh. They’ve kicked to the corner about 10 meters out from the Ulster line.
20:38 Ulster get another penalty and the are pointing at the posts to try and kill this game off. Pienaar lines it up and its good. Edinburgh 13 Ulster 32.
20:36 Edinburgh attacking just outside Ulster 22. Defence holdng firm. Whitten and Faloon prominent for Ulster throughout this game. Ulster turnover and Afoa is on the charge.
20:33 Kick is good and its 13 – 29. Keep your heads for 10 minutes please!
20:32 Flip me another score from the restart, with Marshall setting up Trimble for Ulster’s third try. Its 13 – 27 with the kick to come. Brilliant!
20:31 It’s a good one from Pienaar and the score reads Edinburgh 13 Ulster 22.
20:30 Great field of high ball by Gilroy leads to a penalty to Ulster who now have a chance at goal. Not particularly easy though.
20:28 Ulster get a lineout just outside the Edinburgh 22. Ulster on the attack through Whitten yet again. Afoa drives on. Penalty gives away possession when it looked easier to score!
20:26 Teams are back out and there appears to be no further changes to the starting line-ups. Wonder if we’ll see much of Paddy Wallace now? Second half under way.
20:23 Half time consensus seems to be a mix of the sublime and the ridiculous from Ulster. They still need to work on their precision. Paul Marshall getting big ups from the guys in the studio.
20:20 Dragons are beating the Ospreys 21 – 9 ten minutes into the second half of the game in Newport!
20:14 Penalty is good and the teams turn round with the score reading Edinburgh 13 Ulster 19. Phew! Time for a toilet break!
20:13 “When they’ve been good they have been very very good but when they are bad they are appalling!” says Constable as the game approaches half time. Another penalty to Edinburgh – last kick of the half.
20:11 Ulster just inside the Edinburgh 10m line waiting for scrum. Trimble comes inside and Ulster are on the attack. Another turnover and Edinburgh are counter attacking and get a penalty.
20:09 Good squeeze by Ulster and they win the scrum and Ulster are breaking out. Lose possession and Edinburgh are back on the attack but it’s another mistake and scrum to Ulster. Phew – what a game!
20:07 Another scrum for Edinburgh about 8 meters out.
20:07 Penalty to Edinburgh. Not kickable and it’s a line out 8 – 9 meters from the Ulster line. Edinburgh win lineout and are on the attack. Faloon makes tackle.
20:05 About 8 minutes left. Free kick to Edinburgh at the scrum and the home team attack. Anything could happen in this game!
20:03 Ulster attacking again from the next re-start. Looks as though they are finally finding a bit of continuity. Scrum to Edinburgh on the halfway line.
20:02 And it’s an extraordinary counterattack from the restart and Tuohy goes over for Ulsters second try. Score now reads Edi 10 Uls 19 with kick to come. Kick missed.
20:00 Ulster attacking. Now 5 meters from Edinburgh line and Rory Best goes over after a period of sustained pressure. Good try going through a number of phases at pace.
19:57 Edinburgh on the attack but Cave picks up lose ball and counters. Penalty to Ulster on their own 10m. Lineout just inside the Edinburgh half. Lack of accuracy and precision constantly referred to.
19:55 Ulster’s passing being criticised as very poor by Gusher and Constable. Ulster now have defensive lineout just outside their own 10m line. Accidental offside by Ulster free kick to Edinburgh. Afoa and Court now down ffs!
19:51 Marshall on for Humphreys, Pienaar to out half. Humphreys hamstring and Wannenburg ankle.
19:50 Kick is good but Humphreys off. No replacement on yet. Score 10 – 9
19:49 Ulster re-group and are on the attack from the re-start. Came close to scoring through Whitten but have won a penalty in a kickable position. Humphreys getting treatment and Pienaar takes kick. Humphreys looking finished.
19:48 Kick is good. Edinburgh lead 10 – 6 and it sounds as though Ulster are rattled.
19:46 Edinburgh back on the attack after the re-start. Just outside Ulster’s 22. Now inside 22 and maintaining the ball. Ulster concede penalty in a kickable position.
19:44 Farce at re-start leads to what looks like an Edinburgh try close to the posts. Bollocks. Conversion good. Score now Edi 7 Uls 6.
19:42 Kick is good, Score reads Edi 0 Uls 6.
19:42 Another penalty to Ulster. Wannenburg off Faloon on. Henry to No. 8. Humphreys lines up kick.
19:40 Ulster win a penalty to relieve the pressure. Lineout on own 10 meter line. Ulster maintain possession but not making much ground. Humphreys slips through grubber which results in line out to Ulster.
19:38 Pienaar breaks from scrum but is turned over. Edinburgh attacking through Patterson and Visser is nearly in but Trimble makes tackle.
19:37 Ulster run the restart back through Whitten and Ferris. Ferris is forced into touch. Lineout to Edinburgh. Good Ulster defence forces a turnover for Ulster after the lineout.
19:35 Four minutes gone and the score reads 0 – 3 with Ulster in the lead.
19:33 Ulster 15 meters from line are piling on the pressure. Penalty to Ulster. Looks well within Humphreys range.
19:32 Scrum followed by free kick to Ulster and Ulster are on attack through the forwards.
19:31 And they are off. Ulster in possession. Pienaar misses touch and Edinburgh are on the attack.
19:30 Johann Muller has just brought the team out. Stefan Terbalnche getting a bit of a build up by Gusher.
19:25 Bryn Cunningham and Tony McWhirter are in the studio. Rory Best being tipped as captain for 2013 Lions? Don’t know where they heard that one from!
19:22 Pitch soft and wet on top. However it’s currently dry.
19:21 Radio Ulster coming through loud and clear. McLaughs on at the minute talking about squad strength. Still looking to finish in top four of Pro 12.