John Cooney stars as Ulster end South Africa tour with bonus-point win
Scrumhalf scores two tries and lands six conversions for 22-point haul
Ulster scrumhalf John Cooney scores one of his two tries during the Guinness Pro 14 game against the Southern Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth. Photograph: Richard Huggard/Inpho
Southern Kings 17 Ulster 42
Ulster resoundingly responded to their nine-try humiliation at the Cheetahs by seeing off the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth to end their mini-tour South African tour on an upbeat note on Saturday.
The northern province scored six tries to take a bonus point with John Cooney accumulating 22 points from two first-half tries and all six conversions.
Ulster had effectively wrapped the game up by half-time when they led 35-10 after Cooney’s brace had been added to by scores from Luke Marshall, skipper Rob Herring and Matt Faddes, with the latter claiming the bonus point.
Their only score of a scrappy and thoroughly disjointed second half from both sides was from Sean Reidy and came of a lineout maul.
The Kings then stalled Ulster’s almost effortless progress with a converted try from centre Tertius Kruger which cut the visitors’ lead to 35-10 as the sides changed ends.
But with the game won, referee Craig Evans consistently holding things up to discuss matters with the TMO, and Ulster going off the boil, the second half was a stop-start affair.
After Reidy’s try, and Cooney’s conversion, the Kings managed to get plenty of possession and territory but could only manage one converted try from lock Aston Fortuin which they achieved while Ulster were down to 14 men after Adam McBurney having been yellow-carded.
SOUTHERN KINGS: M Banda; J Twum-Boafo, T Kruger, JT Jackson, C Winnaar; D Catrakilis, S Ungerer; J Schoeman, A van Rooyen, R de Klerk; J Sexton, A Fortuin; L Badiyana (capt), T Burger, R Lerm.
Replacements: J Allderman for Ungerer (24 mins); P Schlotz for De Kleri (31), B de Wee for Sexton (35), J du Toit for Van Rooyen, A Tshakweni for Schoeman and E Louw for Lerm (all h/t), S Sithole for Catrakilis (45), JC Astle for Twum-Boafo (55).
ULSTER: M Faddes; C Gilroy, L Marshall, S McCloskey, L Ludik; B Burns, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring (capt), T O’Toole; S Carter, A O’Connor, M Rea, S Reidy, M Coetzee.
Replacements: J Hume for McCloskey (45 mins), K Treadwell for Carter (51), McBurney for Herring (54), K McCall for O’Sullivan (55), D Shanahan for Cooney (59), R Kane for O’Toole (64), G Jones for Coetzee (66), Herring for Jones (70-78). Not used: A Curtis.
Yellow card: A McBurney (68 mins).
Referee: C Evans (WRU).