Impressive Ulster claim Heineken Cup spot

 

Edinburgh 25 Ulster 37:Ulster got their first Magners League win of the season over a Scottish side and in the process took five points to make sure that they will stay ahead of Connacht and earn a Heineken Cup place next season.

For sorry Edinburgh it was a sad day. A poor performance means their hopes of qualifying for the Magners League play-off are hanging by a thread.

Tries by Jamie Smith for Ulster and Tim Visser for Edinburgh with Niall O’Connor and Phil Godman each kicking the conversion and a penalty meant the sides started the second half tied at 10-10.

However a much more slick Ulster secured a good win with second-half tries from Simon Danielli, Ian Whitten, Ian Humphreys and Stephen Ferris while Humphreys added two conversions and a penalty.

Edinburgh’s tries by Visser and Andy Turnbull were no consolation as Godman converted one and kicked a conversion.

Ulster showed their early nervousness when an unnecessary tug on Edinburgh fullback Ben Cairns after he had lofted a hopeful kick brought a penalty in the sixth minute that Godman eased home.

However, the lead was a short one. In perfect conditions, Edinburgh were guilty of basic errors including slipping off tackles.

The Ulster try arrived after 12 minutes. Orthodox handling to the right saw centre Daren Cave slip the ball inside to fullback Smith who accelerated out of home wing Tim Visser’s attempted tackle and through a better one on the line from Mark Robertson to touch down under the bar for O’Connor to convert.

In the 20th minute, Godman and Nick De Luca dithered in dealing with a long kick over their goal line and almost let in Simon Danielli to touch down.

However, Ulster soon extended their lead to 10-3 when O’Connor goaled a long penalty almost immediately.

Visser had been trying hard to make up for his error but the top try-scorer in the league was well-policed until he broke the tackle of Whitten and dived over in the 30th minute for his ninth try of the season.

The move had started with a thrust down the right wing by Cairns with scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw adding important penetration as the ball was switched left. Godman converted off the post.

With O’Connor missing a long penalty soon after, the score remained tied at 10-10 at the half-time.

Mike Blair, Edinburgh’s Lions scrumhalf who had been left on the bench, came on for Laidlaw on 50 minutes but it was Ulster’s first-half sub Ian Humphreys who conjured up the first try of the second half with a little dart before sending Scotland cap Danielli over the line for the unconverted try.

Edinburgh passed up a try-scoring chance when De Luca made a long run only to pass forward to supporting Roddy Grant.

However, Ulster showed them how to do it in the 64th minute. Pressure on the left was moved right for centre Whitten to step round replacement wing Andy Turnbull to score in the right corner from where Humphreys’s conversion hit a post.

If a long penalty by Godman in the 71st minute brought some hope that was extinguished when first Humphreys charged down Cairns’s clearing kick behind his line to touch-down and then Stephen Ferris broke clear to dash 30 metres to score. Humphreys converted both.

Two late home tries, by Visser and Turnbull, were too little as Godman converted only one and Humphreys’s penalty to close the game rubbed salt in the home wound.