Ulster go nine points clear after another win in Wales

Ulster winger Andrew intercepts to score against the Scarlets

Ulster winger Andrew intercepts to score against the Scarlets

  • by Richard Mulligan

ULSTER registered their 12th straight win - 10 in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Sunday evening with a 19-12 win over second placed Scarlets which moved them nine points clear at the top.

Andrew Trimble - dropped by Irsih coach, Declan Kidney for the final Test against Argentina - crossed for the game’s only try.

Paddy Jackson converted the first half intercept from Trimble and was on target with four penalties to see Ulster go clear at the top of the PRO12 table.

It was not a great performance from the Irish Province once again against a Scarlets side ravaged by international call-ups.

However, crucially for Ulster, skipper Johann Muller returned from a six week lay-off with a hand injury to get 40 minutes.

And influential hooker, Rory Best, also got vital game time off the bench as he also returns from a neck injury.

Dan Tuohy came off the bench and became the first Ulster players in the league this season to see a yellow card - although it did seem a little harsh from Munster referee, Peter Fitzgibbon.

As has been the theme this season, Ulster head coach, Mark Anscombe, was happy to get the win - again - this time the victory more convincing than the two narrow escapes in Italy over the past fortnight.

“It does feel like a win., It was pretty disappointing actually,” an honest Anscombe told the News Letter on Sunday night.

“It was a poor game of rugby by both teams.

“We had done enough to set up a platform in the first half to take that game away considering what they had out and what we had in (in terms of personnel).

“We didn’t look after the ball. We gave away too many penalties. Dumb rugby and inaccurate.”

Ulster rested Jared Payne, Nick Williams, Paddy Wallace, Chris Henry and Ruan Pienaar this weekend - all five will return for the provisional squad which goes into the first of the back-to-back games against Northampton Saints as Ulster look to preserve their 100 per cent record this season at Franklin Gardens on Friday night.

On the back of the performance yesterday, Anscombe admitted: “We know we have got a lot to do between now and Friday otherwise we are going to get our backsides kicked in Northampton.

“I’m worried about our ability to look after the ball. We scored one try and that was an intercept. We are not building pressure.

“We are not cherishing possession and we are not striking when opportunities create themselves.

“I suppose we had a number of guys having their first game back together in four or five weeks but even so with the amount of experience there they should have been able to adapt into that pretty quickly.

“That was disappointing.”

“Individual skill execution and penalties (was disappointing).

“There was some guess work by some of the penalties for both sides by the referee. That didn’t allow the game to flow.

“Some silly football by both sides and the skills by both teams was pretty average out there.

“We’ve only got five days so we have got to get on our feet and bounce back tomorrow and address a few areas of concern between now and Friday and we don’t have a lot of time to work on it.

“So it’s going to be up to individuals’ preparation and how they execute it.”




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