Comeback comes up short as Ulster take the win

A John Andrew hat-trick proved the difference as Ulster withstood a spirited Edinburgh fightback to win 43-14 at BT Murrayfield.

The visitors looked comfortable at 19-0 up after crossing three times inside the opening 25 minutes but Jack Blain scored either side of the break – his first seniors scores - to take Richard Cockerill’s side to within five points.

Jamie Farndale had a try disallowed which would have drawn Edinburgh level but Jordi Murphy’s bonus point score restored the visitors’ cushion.

Cooney's second made the game safe and two late tries from Andrew sealed his treble and ensured Ulster took all points on offer.


Key Moments

Ulster were visiting Edinburgh for the first time since last season’s Semi-Final and they were ahead inside three minutes on this occasion courtesy of a well-worked score.

Quick hands found Andrew and his pass back inside to Cooney allowed the scrum-half to provide Stewart Moore with a simple run in from the 22 for his third try in as many games.

The visitors suffered a setback when Rob Lyttle was forced off injured shortly afterwards but they held firm amid a spell of Edinburgh pressure with Marcell Coetzee imperious at the breakdown.

The Ulster pack then turned the screw at the other end as Andrew found a gap to cross for their second try off the back of a maul and Cooney did likewise next time they kicked to the corner, throwing a dummy and burrowing over from close range in trademark style.

The scrum-half converted his own score to put Ulster 19-0 in front but Edinburgh gave themselves a lifeline before half time having kicked to the corner themselves.

There was no way through for the forwards but, when the ball came out, full-back Jack Blain picked a great line to dart over for his first senior try.

Nathan Chamberlain’s conversion reduced the deficit and Edinburgh’s pack received a morale boost as the half drew to a close with a big shove against the head to win a penalty at the scrum.

The second period began with Ulster 19-7 ahead and the capital side began on the front foot as they looked to give the Irish side a taste of their own medicine.

Richard Cockerill’s men were back within five points when Blain latched on to Eroni Sau’s offload to cross for his second, converted once again by Chamberlain.

Then came a moment of drama as Edinburgh thought they had drawn level in bizarre circumstances, with Jamie Farndale first to the rebound to go over after Chamberlain’s penalty had come back off the post.

The fly-half was all set for the conversion attempt when the try went upstairs and was chalked off for offside, Farndale having been inches in front of the kicker when the penalty was struck.

Buoyed by their reprieve, Ulster went in search of the bonus point try and found it in familiar fashion as a maul again proved too hot for the hosts.

This time it was Murphy who profited and a yellow card for the returning Bill Mata, not long on the field as a replacement, added insult to injury for Edinburgh.

Cooney’s second try settled matters late on as the scrum-half finished a fine move started by Ian Madigan and continued by a bulldozing run by Sam Carter, and the scrum-half’s conversion took his tally for the night to 18 points.

Another maul brought another try as Andrew went over for his second with six minutes to play and there was still time for the hooker to dive over for his hat-trick with the clock in the red.

While the final score was perhaps a tad harsh Edinburgh, Ulster were clinical throughout and continue their unbeaten record this season.


Reaction

Richard Cockerill: “We couldn’t sustain it when the game turned. When it comes to the players you are not comparing apples with apples.

"There were parts that were good for us – we got back in the fight and there were points of the second half when we thought we could hang in there to be there or thereabouts at the end – but it wasn’t to be.

“We made some errors – we weren’t in the right place at the right times – but that’s what you get when you are playing young guys who will make mistakes. We got dominated, physically, across the board, in the end.”

live commentary 8:15 PM Monday 30 Nov 2020

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Kick-off 8:15 PM

Edinburgh

Ulster

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