Ulster gave themselves the perfect lift heading into the Heineken Cup next week with a deserved and impressive 29-19 win over Munster at Ravenhill on Friday night.
Ruan Pienaar kicked 19 points with Darren Cave and Jared Payne crossing for first half tries which gave Ulster a good 20-point advantage before the expected Munster response.
The league leaders scored two second half tries and came within four points of Ulster before the home Province put the game beyond doubt in the final minute, inflicting only the second defeat of the PRO12 campaign this season on Munster.
Ulster head coach, Mark Anscombe, hailed the superb defensive display in the closing minutes when Ulster halted a Munster maul which had previously resulted in them scoring two tries.
“When they get that lineout maul going, it is pretty impressive and hard to stop,” said Anscombe.
Anscombe admitted Ulster had struggled to deal with Munster’s maul,but added with a grin: “We did stop the last one which was the most important, and then we had an outstanding scrum and came away with the points.”
Following last week’s disappointing defeat in Dublin when Ulster failed to perform, Anscombe said last night’s win was crucial.
“It is important to go into Europe with confidence,” he said.
“If we had got turned over tonight it would have been back-to-back defeats and that does have an effect.
“Now we know what we are capable of doing. We want to have the destiny in our hands and it still is.
We are at the right end of the table and we now know what we clearly have to do in our European games.”