Ulster A kicked of thier British and Irish Cup campaign with a 24 – 18 win against Scarlets select at Banbridge RFC on Saturday afternoon.
Aaron Cairns, Joe Dunleavy and Ulster Jack Owens all crossed for Ulster with Johnny McPhillips converting all three together with a first half penalty.
Scarlets took the early advantage with the visitors racing to a thirteen point lead after tries from winger Tom Prydie and number 8 Jack Condy plus a penalty from outside half Rhys Jones in the first quarter.
Ulster A finally woke up and, in a dominant second quarter, they replied with tries from Aaron Cairns and Joe Dunleavy, both converted by McPhillips to take a one point lead. McPhillips added a late penalty to take the score to 17 – 13 at the break.
A try by Jacks Owens shortly at the end of the third quarter consolidated Ulster’s advantage with McPhillips adding the conversion to make it an eleven point game.
However, Ulster will be disappointed that they didn’t push on to get the try bonus, Scarlets taking some gloss of the result with a late score from Josh Helps giving the visitors a losing bonus.
Final score: Ulster A 24 Scarlets Select 18.
Ulster A: Jack Owens, David Busby, Callum Patterson, Rory Butler, Angus Kernohan, Johnny McPhillips, Aaron Cairns, Andy Warwick, Adam McBurney, Ross Kane, Jack Regan, Peter Browne, Caleb Montgomery, Aaron Hall, Joe Dunleavy. Replacements: Zack McCall, Michael Cromie, Matthew Dalton, Greg Jones, Jonny Stewart, Brett Herron, Michael Lowry.
With Pete Brown, Andy Warwick and Ross Kane involved it was a more experienced Ulster A then we were expecting and It’ll be interesting to see how the team develops over the season. Aaron Cairns had a good game at scrum half and it was good to see both Johnny McPhillips and Adam McBurney get a good work out after prolonged injuries.
The result see’s Ulster A in second place in Pool 5 following a bonus point 19 – 35 win for Cornish Pirates at Hartpury RFC.
Ulster A travel to Penzance next week to face the Pirates in what is already looking like a Pool 5 decider.
Pictures below from Bob Given.