Ulster coach, Mark Anscombe, got what he wanted from Friday night’s 21-19 win over Leinster, even if it was a little less comfortable than he would have liked in any game.
The Inter-Pro derby between last season’s RaboDirect PRO12 finalists lived up to expectations of being a ‘bit more’ than a pre-season friendly.
Neither Province held back as they sought to claim early season bragging rights.
Ulster showed determination to come from 13-0 and 19-14 behind in each half to finally secure the win with a last gasp try from the impressive scrumhalf, Ian Porter and a ‘hold your nerve’ conversation from outhalf, James McKinney.
Ulster outscored Leinster three tries to one, the visitors opting to take their penalty kicks at goal with summer signing Jimmy Goppereth showing he has a solid right boot as he scored 14 of his side’s 19 points.
Ulster took the opportunity to use a full squad of 29 players in what was the perfect hit out in terms of a proper test.
This weekend Ulster travel to Leicester Tigers for the second and last of the warm-up games before the PRO12 opens on Friday, September 6, when they travel to Newport to face NG Dragons.
Ulster will visit the Tigers again later in the season, as well as welcome them to Ravenhill in October as both clubs open their Heineken Cup pool games.
That may add a little bit more to this Saturday’s clash, but Ulster will be focusing on that tricky trip to the Dragons .
The Ulster approach this weekend will be to give specific time to several individuals as they plan for that opening league game.
Anscombe reflecting on Friday night’s game claiming he was satisfied, but also agreed there was plenty to work on.
“It was good to finally get a game under our belts.
“The determination of the players to keep battling away when they fell behind in both halves was positive.
“There was some good rugby played at times. Credit to the guys, the rain which fell just before kick-off made things a little greasy.
“Overall I got what I wanted from it.”
Ulster captain, Johann Muller is expected to be involved in this week’s match against Leicester.
He should be joined by several other internationals among then British Lion call-up, Tom Court, Andrew Trimble, Chris Henry and Paul Marshall.
Anscombe said: “It was good to see everyone come through with no injury concerns, but we will not take as big a panel with us to the Tigers. Some players need more game time before the league gets underway.”