Ulster vs Edinburgh Rugby, Fri, 07/09/2018 - 19:35

Ulster
30 - 29
Full time
Edinburgh Rugby
Friday, 7 September, 2018 - 19:35 | Kingspan Stadium

It was a pulsating, end-to-end contest and one in which Richard Cockerill’s side held the lead for the vast majority of the contest.

However, as Ulster scrum-half, John Cooney, split the uprights with a last gasp penalty it signalled heart breaking defeat for an Edinburgh outfit who were on top for the near entirety of the encounter.

Although credit must be given to the hosts, who overturned a 13-point deficit with only 20 minutes reaming, Edinburgh’s quality in both attack and defence was evident throughout and they will be disheartened to only leave Belfast with a single point.

Although understandably disappointed, Head Coach Richard Cockerill was left proud of his side’s efforts, and said: “It was a good game of rugby from both sides. You knew Ulster were going to have their moment, and that proved to be the case.

“Edinburgh were good tonight. We played really well away from home and gave them the fright of their lives. It’s down to a bounce of the ball, and if we catch the kick-off, we probably go on to win the game.

“You can debate the last decision all you want, but you’ve got to control those things yourself.

Despite losing Scotland international centre Mark Bennett to injury in the first-half, Edinburgh’s backline were an attacking threat all evening - especially when the ball was moved into the hands of their electric back-three.

“I’m very pleased with how we performed tonight,” said Cockerill. “I’m obviously disappointed with the end result, because we would have taken all the points – but those are the lessons we have to learn as a team.

“A draw was probably a fair result. But, it was never going to be a draw, was it? It’s a tough one to take, but the reaction of the crowd on full-time and their relief at wining shows how far we’ve come in the last 14 months.”

It was the perfect start for Edinburgh - who were looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Ospreys in round one of the competition. Impressive Kiwi stand-off Simon Hickey slotted home two simple penalties to put his side in the driving seat.

And, it was to get better for the visitors on 15 minutes. Following some slick interplay between Jamie Ritchie and Stuart McInally, the ball was eventually fed wide to Tom Brown, who raced over in the corner for his side’s first try of the contest.

It was Brown’s first outing in over 10 months, and the try was just reward for what has been a painstaking return to competitive action.

Although Bennett was carted off the field with a hamstring injury, Edinburgh refused to let the setback upset their adventurous style of play. Hickey would knock over a further penalty and the visitors held a well-earned 6-16 lead at the break.

Edinburgh shot out of the blocks to begin the second half and were soon rewarded with their second try of the evening. Replacement James Johnstone added the finishing touches to a sweeping counter attack and dotted down in the corner.

Ulster answered immediately however, as live wire nine and eventual match winner, Cooney, sprinted over the whitewash to breathe life back into the Kingspan faithful.

And the ‘Ravenhill Roar’ soon played their part as they urged Craig Gilroy over the whitewash from over 50 metres which gave the hosts a 27-26 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

With both sides frantically swapping counter punches, Ulster were penalised at the scrum, which Hickey once again converted to make it 27-29.

But, as Edinburgh were pinged for what appeared to be a fair rip at the breakdown, Ulster’s Cooney kept his cool to drive home the match winning penalty.

A disappointing loss, but Edinburgh have the chance to make amends as they host Connacht at BT Murrayfield a week’s time.

Team lineups

Ulster
Edinburgh Rugby

Backs

15 Will Addison
14 Craig Gilroy
13 Darren Cave
12 Stuart McCloskey
11 Henry Speight
10 Billy Burns
9 John Cooney

Forwards

1 Andy Warwick
2 Rob Herring
3 Ross Kane
4 Kieran Treadwell
5 Iain Henderson
6 Marcell Coetzee
7 Jordi Murphy
8 Nick Timoney

Substitutes

16 Adam McBurney
17 Eric O'Sullivan
18 Wiehahn Herbst
19 Alan O'Connor
20 Sean Reidy
21 Dave Shanahan
22 Angus Curtis
23 Angus Kernohan

GUINNESS PRO14 2018/19 table

PosTeamPWLDPts
1Glasgow Warriors1082040
2Edinburgh Rugby1046019
3Munster32108
4Southern Kings11005
5Leinster 11004
6Ulster11004
7Ospreys21104
8Zebre21104
9Dragons Rugby21104
10Connacht 20202
11Benetton Rugby10101
12Toyota Cheetahs20201
13Scarlets20200
14Cardiff Blues10100
15Leinster Rugby00000
16Benetton Treviso00000

GUINNESS PRO14 2018/19 latest results

Glasgow Warriors 29 v 20 Scarlets
Munster 44 v 14 Edinburgh Rugby
Dragons Rugby 18 v 12 Edinburgh Rugby
Glasgow Warriors 40 v 15 Cardiff Blues
Ospreys 20 v 29 Glasgow Warriors