Ulster claim first win at Connacht’s expense
Paddy Jackson comes good in second half to guide Mark Anscombe’s side to victory
Connacht’s Craig Clarke is outnumbered by Ulstermen at the Sportsground in Galway. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at the Sportsground in Galway. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Connacht 7 Ulster 18: A 13-point haul from Paddy Jackson after the break at the Sportsground made amends for a sloppy first half from Ulster and guided them to victory over Connacht in Galway.
The province’s first win of the season after two defeats looked a long way off in the first half, with conditions not helping either side complete even the basics.
Mike Allen’s try was all the visitors had to show for their efforts at halftime and it left them trailing by two after Dan Parks had converted his own opportunist score in the 12th minute.
Paul Marshall’s introduction after the break in place of Ian Porter helped turn the tables for the visitors and Jackson was the man to benefit. His penalty gave them the lead 15 minutes in and moments later he touched down and converted his try after a brilliant line break from centre Luke Marshall.
A 64th-minute penalty pushed the game out of Connacht’s reach.
“It’s good to get the first win under the belt, the last two weeks haven’t really gone to plan,” said man of the match Iain Henderson. “The first half there were a few stupid mistakes with a greasy ball, and the wind into our faces, but second half a few more balls went to hand, we put a pew phases together.”
Connacht coach Pat Lam rued two defensive errors that led to the Ulster tries but insisted there were signs of improvement at Connacht.
“We got to keep building and not go into our shells. Some of the rugy we have played and what we are trying to do, we are not far off.”