ULSTER 24 EDINBURGH 18
Ulster ended thier poor run of results with a bonus poiint win in Belfast last night as the Guinness PRO12 campaign resumed.
ON a night when Marcell Coetzee made his long awaited debut for the club and Peter Nelson also returned from long-term injury to start at outhalf, along with Stuart Olding who made his first start since October.
Although Edinburgh went ahead after just two minutes through number eight Magnus Bradbury’s try, Ulster practically owned the first half and they scored four tires to secure their bonus point and stay sixth in the table.
It was the brilliance of winger Charles Piutau which stood out while centre Darren Cave also impressed, giving Ulster good direction and momentum.
Paul Marshall, Cave, Ludik and Jacob Stockdale all crossed, Nelson converting twice, to give the home side a 24-5 lead after 32 minutes.
Stuart McInally did cross for the visitors before the interval, Jason Tovey again missing the conversionm, but Ulster looked comfortable at 24-10.
Cave’s withdrawal at the break for Stuart McCloskey changed the dynamics of the midifled and although Ulster had dominance, they could not find a way through. Losing the influential Piutau on 49 minutes also did not help.
Edinburgh did not enter the Ulster half until the 53rd minute and five minutes later were rewarded with a try through winger Damien Hoyland who had missed a golden opportunity midway through the first half.
Replacemetn scrumhalf Sam Hidalgo-Clyne missed the extras, but a penalty on 63 minutes brought his side not only into losing bonus point territory, but a converted score away from stealing the match.
It was a slightly anxious end to the game, but Ulster played it out to gain a crucially important win.
Ulster L Ludik; J Stockdale, D Cave, S Olding, C Piutau; P Nelson, P Marshall; A Warwick, J Andrew, R Lutton; K Treadwell, A O’Connor; R Diack, C Henry (capt), M Coetzee.
Replacements: J Murphy (O’Connor 75), C Black (Warwick 55), W Herbst (Lutton 41), P Browne (Treadwell 62), S Reidy (Coetzee 60), D Shanahan (Marshall 66), S McCloskey (Cave 41), T Bowe (Piutau 49).
Edinburgh: B Kinghorn, D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, T Brown, J Tovey, S Kennedy; J Cosgrove, S McInally (capt), M McCallum, F McKenzie, B Toolis, V Mata, J Ritchie, M Bradbury.
Replacements: G Turner (McInally 55), D Appiah (Richie 66), N Beavon (McCallum 62), L Carmichael (MacKenzie 62), V Fihak (Mata 62), S Hidalgo-Clyne (Kennedy, M Allen (Burleigh 65), R Scholes (Kinghorn 43).