GUINNESS PR012 RUGBY: Munster snatch victory over Ulster in Belfast

Ulster Rob Lyttle scores a try against   Munster
Ulster Rob Lyttle scores a try against Munster
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ULSTER 14 MUNSTER 15

Munster knocked Ulster off the top of the Guinness PRO12 last night with a gritty performance which saw them come from 14-0 down to snatch victory five minutes from the end.

Centre Rory Scannell’s late drop goal secured Munster a dramatic 15-14 win at a sold-out Kingspan Stadium.

Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson - who dropped a goal to win against Exeter Chiefs a week earlier at the same venue - saw his attempt this time shave the right pole two minutes from the end.

Ulster have now failed to beat Munster in five straight attempts - three of those in Belfast.

First-half tries from Charles Piutau – his first for the club – and Rob Lyttle opened up a 14-0 first-half lead for the hosts who came into the game sitting top of the Guinness PRO12 standings.

But Scannell went over for Munster – who dominated huge swathes of this clash – in first-half stoppage time to trim the gap.

Jaco Taute then crossed in the second half for the visitors but it looked like Ian Keatley’s misfiring boot would cost the away side.

The fly-half – Munster’s hero with a late penalty in this same fixture in January – missed three kicks at a goal and a drop goal and Ulster were clinging on to a 14-12 win as time ticked down.

But up stepped man of the match Scannell to slot the drop goal over with five minutes remaining and although Jackson came agonisingly close with a drop goal of his own in the last two minutes, it drifted wide and Munster held on to take the win and move above Ulster in the standings.

Ulster: C Piutau; T Bowe, L Marshall, D Cave, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring (capt), W Herbst; D Tuohy, F van der Merwe; R Diack, S Reidy, R Wilson.

Replacements: J Andrew, K McCall (Black 57), A Warwick (Herbst 65), C Ross (Wilson 28), C Joyce, P Marshall (Pienaar 75), B Herron, R Lyttle (Cave 8)

Munster: A Conway; D Sweetnam, J Taute, R Scannell, R O’Mahony; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan; D Ryan, B Holland; P O’Mahony (capt), T O’Donnell, J O’Donoghue.

Replacements: V O’Brien, B Scott, S Archer, D O’Shea, R Copeland (O’Donnell 60), A Griesel, A Wootton (Conway 20), D Goggin.