Edinburgh v Ulster Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby scored three tries and held off a late Ulster comeback to record an impressive 28-17 victory over the Belfast based outfit tonight at BT Murrayfield.
Viliame Mata, Damien Hoyland and Magnus Bradbury all crossed the whitewash in front of 5336 supporters, with stand-off Jason Tovey, his replacement Duncan Weir, and full-back Blair Kinghorn all adding points from the tee.
Despite going 28-3 down early in the second-half, Ulster fought their way back into the game with two tries in quick succession through replacements Aaron Cairns and Jacob Stockdale– both of which were converted scrum-half Ruan Pienaar – yet their efforts bore no fruit as the home side came away with a well-deserved victory.
Acting Head Coach Duncan Hodge said: “For the first 60 minutes we were excellent.
“To do that to a team like Ulster – especially considering the team we were playing against and that the average age of our pack, which must have been about 22-years old – it’s a great effort.
“There’s a lot of guys who stuck their hands up tonight and played really well – Jamie Ritchie at seven, Jack Cosgrove, Murray McCallum, Ben Toolis – the forwards were outstanding.
“Considering the week we’ve had with the Scotland camp going on, some of these guys have been thrown in at the deep end and to do what they did against that pack is great.”
Edinburgh got off to a flying start when back-row Mata ran a tight-line off of Sean Kennedy to power his way through the defence and cross the whitewash after just two minutes, with Tovey duly converting (7-0).
There was no let-up from Hodge’s men, and their patience and persistence was again rewarded seven minutes later when wing Damien Hoyland picked up the ball from the base of a ruck and sniped over the whitewash from close range (12-0).
Kinghorn extended his side’s lead on 16 minutes when he used his thunderous boot to slot a penalty from 50 metres out, before Ulster replied through Pienaar who was successful in his first attempt from the tee (15-3).
Weir replaced Tovey on 23 minutes and made an immediate contribution in racking up six points through two successful penalties before the substitution was reversed ten minutes later.
Half-time: Edinburgh Rugby 21 – 3 Ulster Rugby
Edinburgh came out of the interval firing and Bradbury scored their third try of the game seven minutes into the half after some good work from replacement Michael Allen and scrum-half Sean Kennedy, who broke from the scrum set-piece to link-up in the wide channels and create the space for the back-row to gallop in for the try.
Tovey’s conversion from out wide gave his side a comfortable 28-3 lead heading into the final quarter of the game.
However, the game was not over and after a disallowed try on 54 minutes Ulster crossed the whitewash for the first time on 66 minutes through replacement Aaron Cairns, with Pienaar successful with the conversion.
Lifted by Cairns’ score, Ulster rallied and were back on the scoreboard when replacement Jacob Stockdale raced over the line on 71 minutes, with Pienaar’s second conversion closing the gap to 11 points and build for a tense finish (28-17).
This, however, was the last score of the night which meant the home-side came away with a third league in the Guinness PRO12 and four league points.
Full-time: Edinburgh Rugby 28 – 17 Ulster Rugby