Stephen Watson presents live coverage as Ulster welcome Edinburgh to Kingspan Stadium in the Pro12. Studio guests are Stephen Ferris and Eddie O'Sullivan.
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Ulster returned to action after a disappointing run of results. They
have lost nine out of their last 13 games in all competitions. It has
been the story of the season, going in and out of games. Out of sorts.
Across the board, not good enough. Some of those mistakes we made...
And out of Europe. I am finding this difficult to watch, I refuse to
believe that we are not good enough. Despondency after their last defeat.
Absolutely soul destroying, you are in cuckoo land if you think what we
have can compete in Europe. Back to the Pro12 and Ulster need to get
back to winning ways. There are still a play-off place up for grabs.
We are in this together. We need to find a way out. Ulster are keeping
the faith. I am still relatively optimistic that we can get there.
But we have to do something different. Welcome to Ulster Rugby
Live, Stephen Ferris and Eddie O'Sullivan join me for a round 14 of
the Guinness Pro12 and Ulster have work to do. Currently at number six
on the table, 17 points behind the leaders, Munster, who played the
Dragons and Ospreys play Zebre and the Scarlets are playing. We heard
Bryn Cunningham saying ulster were not good enough and they must do
something different. What is that? To get the season back on track?
They need to draw a line in the sand, the season is on the line
every game, huge pressure. The biggest bugbear has been lack of
consistency, even over 80 minutes, playing well for 20 minutes and a
following. Focus on staying in the game for 80 minutes, get results,
forget about before, but will not do anything but they need to change in
energy and I suppose vision and that is about consistency. The bugbear
for the last while and that is the one thing they will get out of this.
One person people are looking forward to is a new signing from
South Africa, what do we expect from him? We were so excited to see him.
He damaged his cruciate ligament and he is making his debut at the
Kingspan Stadium and everybody is looking to see what he can do.
Destructive and physical and powerful, that is what Ulster have
lacked. He is just an absolute unit, he is like the Nick Williams that
left us last and I am excited to see how he goes, it is important
everybody is not -- everybody does not expect him to win this for
Ulster, everybody fast to pitch in. It is a big bad for him. This is a
big game for Ulster, lacking in confidence but this Edinburgh team
have already beaten Ulster this season and they will have their
tails up. Yes, they have nothing to lose, away from home, the middle of
the Six Nations, they don't have the aspirations of Ulster have, making
that top four. That is dangerous because they can play very well. It
is about ulster taking control of their own destiny and the need to do
that from the off. Thank you very much. Ulster with only one win in
their last six, let us see if they can get their season back on track
in the company of Ian Humphreys and Michael McNamee. Good evening.
It is a chilly evening in Belfast, no wind or rain and Edinburgh will
have half a dozen players involved in the Six Nations clash in Paris on
Sunday and they were forced into some exchanges. Hardie called on to
the Scotland bench and in Jimmy Ritchie and Stuart McInally replaces
Neil Cochrane, who has a shoulder injury and McInally takes over the
captaincy. Without their Ireland regulars and
some others besides, Ulster welcome back Peace Centre Stuart Olding, who
has been out for nearly four months and we expect him to do the
goal-kicking this evening. And the team is captained by Chris Emery.
The Ulster support never diminishes. That is Olding, back after four
months. They are tough Peter Nelson has been out of action for 15
months, since winning over Edinburgh back in December 20 15. And it is
time for number eight, Coetzee, his long-awaited debut and John Andrew
and Ricky Lutton, the all Ballymena front row. The latest castaway on
Kirsty Young's famous desert island, Nigel Owens. If you have not heard
that, check out his own desert island discs. The man described by
Les Kiss is a beast. One years since Marcell Coetzee's signing was
announced. And watching this, making his debut, from the commentary box,
former Ulster I'd have Ian Humphreys. Good evening. I am
looking forward to Ulster and that performance from Coetzee. And the
Number 10, Peter Nelson, this is a big evening for him. Credit goes to
the medical staff at Ulster, they have gotten back from a potential
career ending injury. The first line-out and a little
colour flap between Stuart McInally, who was due to be on the bench this
evening... And the first opportunity to have a look at McKenzie and
Toolis. The breakaway by Jimmy Ritchie, the 20-year-old. Not the
start that Ulster wanted. Kennedy. That is driven on by the Fijian
Mata. Immediately, Edinburgh showing initiative inside the opening
minutes inside the ulster 22. Taken on by Dean, lots of young Scottish
born talent in this Edinburgh back line. John Kennedy. Taken on by
Mata. Try scorer in that victory. That is Tovey and Dean.
Lively start and back into the hands of Mata. Ulster have yet to get
started. They could be in the corner in the opening seconds. And they are
through already! And that is a try from Magnus Bradbury. Very
disappointing start for Ulster. They took that kick-off plainly but they
gave Edinburgh a strong position to attack from and very direct from
Edinburgh, that was a deep run, simple hands on the edge and that
nice off-load and he could force in way over into the corner.
Disappointing for Ulster. It seems to be the key to the season, slow
starts. They will need to get the ball back and get the other end of
the pitch and get the crowd into this. We need some enthusiasm the
kick-off chase. Suffice to say that at the start, this is just not what
Ulster wanted. Edinburgh Sharp and lively and Bradbury, who had the
second try in that went before Christmas, it's the opening try this
evening. Short in the end, the conversion attempt. Early doors,
Edinburgh trying as much as they can to get Mata on the ball. Three
carries in that opening phase. Five points down. Ulster making their way
inside the Edinburgh half for the first time this evening. We have
quite a few left footed kickers in the Ulster side this evening. The
atmosphere has died down. Whatever Ulster got to offer? -- what have
Ulster. Kennedy to the Welsh might have, Tovey. -- out half. Marshall
back in the starting line-up. Driven on by the Ulster back row. That is
Ludik getting his hands on the ball. Ulster again, that was a high tackle
on John Andrew. Let us see what Nigel Owens has to say at the end of
this. Olding. Cave, did not go to hand. And the referee will bring
things back. Lovely play, interplay between Robbie Diack and John
Andrew, soft hands by Diack. Mata has to jam in from wide. Fortunate
not to get the yellow card. Nelson will go to the corner. I wonder what
Sean Reidy is thinking? Sitting on the bench. If he comes on the Sivan,
it will be his 50th cap. -- this evening. That is the man. Back after
a very long recovery from injury. Peter Nelson has found a very good
touch inside the Edinburgh 22. John Andrew, his third senior start this
evening. O'Connor takes that. Ulster being urged to drive forward. Paul
Marshall, guiding the ball forward. The ball is there for Ulster.
Marshall. On the blind side. That was Stockdale, forced into touch.
That was a lovely line-out by the Ulster forwards, they broke the 15,
Ulster had a good drive on and they needed the ball to come out just a
split second earlier. You heard Nigel Owens saying that was just
once. Seeming to get away with hesitating the attack.
Stockdale. McInally. Reduced line-out. Taken by Toolis. Nearly
seven and a half years since Edinburgh came to the Kingspan
Stadium and left with a victory. Tovey. Quick take for Ludik.
Edinburgh 22. Marshall. Here is number eight making his debut,
Coetzee. The skipper, Chris Henry. Nelson. Cave. Running into trouble
in the form of Jimmy Ritchie. Tipped to be a future senior international
for Scotland. Ulster retaining possession but having trouble
getting over the gain line. That is more like it, the golfer Marshall,
Henry. -- the ball for Marshall. The Edinburgh defence is up quickly.
John Andrew. Tidy possession. That was Andrew Warwick. The Ballymena
front row. Coetzee. Those distinctive lime green boots. And he
is getting a warm welcome in his opening seven and a half minutes
here at the Kingspan Stadium. Taken on by Ludik. The Ulster fans have
found their voice. Marshall, Nelson. And popped back inside and very,
very nearly on the corner. Very good attack by Ulster, the Edinburgh
defence managing to put a lot of line speed on the ball and they
managed to shift the point of attack very well. And Darren Cave keeps his
with fairly well, that was a good covering tackle to put him into
touch. Toolis. Did not go forward. Ulster has spent five minutes inside
the Edinburgh half. Tovey again, the man from Newport.
Les Kiss. Whether point to make. -- with a point. Coetzee is going to
see a lot of the bulbous even, he is maybe not expected to play the full
80 minutes, but he is a talismanic figure already. That is good!
Nelson. Piutau, the first time we have seen him attacking his opposite
number. Can Ulster keep this momentum going? Darren Cave.
Marshall. Nelson. There was nobody really there, and too many
defenders. Ulster, this should be in! And Marshall Marx 's return with
the try. -- marks his. And that is what the home fans came to see.
Great attacking play and linkup between Peter Nelson and Stuart
Olding with that wraparound blade to create space on the outside. Piutau
making good yards. Edinburgh trying to put the pressure on but they have
managed to get that over the gain line, quick pick-up by Stuart Olding
and that was an easy finish from five yards out. A big thing for
Ulster tonight is they have been getting well past the ball, that is
making it easy for number nine to get there. Keeping it alive and it
is easier for the backs to create space and the Edinburgh forwards are
unable to cope. So, Stuart Olding taking over the
duties this evening. Of Peter Nelson. Blonde hair, ginger hair,
apologies. Nelson. Shelling peas. Ulster have alleged. The Secretary
of State, James Brokenshire. Enjoying the game. -- Ulster have
the lead. Peter Nelson marking his return with the conversion.
Marshall finds his man, Nelson, Ludik. Taken down by Dean and
Bernie. Marshall, the skipper, Chris Henry. Wearing the armband in the
absence of Rob Herring and Trimble. Stockdale jumping for it. That is a
perfect outcome for Ulster from that kick-off compared to the first one.
He played across a field, looking for the right foot Ludik and Paul
Marshall, very good box kick. Putting the pressure on Edinburgh.
That is a good line-out for Ulster. Marshall. The break by Cave. He has
support. Can he keep that alive? Olding feeling that very well. Ludik
and Piutau in support. Nigel Owens spotted the knock-on. Lovely
attacking play from Ulster. Quite often recently we have seen them
play direct and that opens up a large range of possibilities and
Darren Cave is one of the best support runners you will find.
Finding a good line from Paul Marshall and it is nice to see
Ulster playing with ambition, it brings back the plays of yesteryear
and it is nice to see them going here with ambition on a lovely
evening. They have so many injuries that the central combination has
changed so often. It is good to see Stuart Olding back.
But a huge different in the weight of the pack. -- not be huge. In
their 1-point defeat against Munster won the Google, Edinburgh. And
Ulster giving the shelf on. And they have stolen that ball. -- the shelf.
-- shove. And he is penalised. That is a very good scrum from Ulster.
They put pressure on Robbie Deans quickly and we could see that block
of Coetzee from Mata. Do you like what you see so far from him? He is
carrying the ball very physically and he has been menacing on the
breakdown, he is going through and creating the attacks. It is very
good so far and hopefully that can continue. Toolis.
Just four wins in the Pro12, the first comment at home against Ulster
back in November. Piutau, never in doubt, he has beaten the first and
second man... And this is what the Kingspan Stadium loves about Piutau.
Coetzee, the next poster boy. Marshall. More confidence flowing.
Through those white shirts. Fielded by Hoyland. The flag was up on
underside. As John Andrew was pointing out. To the referee, Nigel
Owens. It drifted out and came back in again. Ulster were fortunate,
Robbie Diack had the quick line-out but Edinburgh have to be careful of
those tactics. How do you tackle him? It is tough. Charles Piutau
gets over at the gain line, then Paul Marshall find some grass.
Putting Edinburgh under pressure, this is a good attacking line-out
and this might be early doors for them. Coetzee, again. If the only
get one hour out of him this even, what an hour that will be! He just
goes over the top, as Ian Humphreys says. Robbie Diack, but to the floor
by Toolis. -- put to the floor. And that is frustrating for Ulster. Two
food carries again, the same boys involved. Robbie Diack chipped the
ball standing still and he lost the contract and then that list is for
the knock-on, very frustrating for coaches and players alike, that is
good field position, they could attack left or right and that is
where Ulster all season have had a hassle, they must make sure they are
looking after that better. One of the number eight desert island discs
songs was a Eurovision song winner. For Nigel Owens. Check it out on
iPlayer. Kennedy, the scrum-half, born in
Stirling. At the back of a pack that is going backwards. Coetzee. Ulster
dominant in the scrummage. Marshall looks at the options. Kay. Piutau.
Look at that! Wonderful feat. That was good support work from Cave.
Nelson, if they can get the ball to the far side, Ulster did have meant
over. Nelson. Edinburgh, defence is getting wise to that, Henry makes a
few. Ulster looking for the break. Can Stockdale provide that?
Brilliant. Look at that. Can they finish? Driven on by Ricky Lutton.
Looking for his first senior Ulster try. The crowd are expected. They
have got men over. Yes! Darren Cave, one of the most
experienced players on the pitch this evening, he has been effective
so far. And he has got the second try for Ulster. That is great work
from Stockdale, they have been coming off the wing and making
options from nine and ten and after that, you do not want forward to
find himself in the channel and that could have been one or two phases
earlier. That was a good finish and Darren Cave and quick ball and that
is great and that is what is troubling Edinburgh tonight. Darren
Cave made his debut back in April 2007. Look at that power from
Stockdale. A tricky conversion attempt for
Peter Nelson. Not a breath of wind here at the
Kingspan Stadium. Slightly weathered. -- we word. Ulster
leading 12-5. Look at the power from Stockdale. Quick possession. Ricky
Lutton. John Andrew played his part. And Marshall, again, providing the
scoring pass for Darren Cave. After that wobbly start... Ulster
have got more into this. That was a good take from the try scorer,
Bradbury, from Edinburgh. Kennedy. McKenzie feeding it on. Dean linking
up with Burnley. The young full-back, Kinghorn, 20 years old.
He missed the long penalty that beat Ulster -- Munster last week. It was
McKenzie who took that into contact. Bradbury. Edinburgh have not been in
the Ulster 22 since scoring a try. McCallum, the 22-year-old from Kirk
all day. Dean. -- Kirk. Kennedy finding Cosgrove.
Tovey has made the break! He is going all the way! He has dropped
it! He should have gone for the line! And Hoyland cannot believe it.
What a let off for Ulster. Jason Tovey has caused Ulster trouble over
the years. Lovely dummy but that is one of the strengths as -- for
Nelson. That is a huge play for Ulster by Peter Nelson. Hopefully
they can clean that up because that was better from Edinburgh, that
really should have been a try. Hoyland.
That could be a key moment if this is a tight game. Les Kiss. He is
more across the technology than I am. What do you think he is trying
to transmit? If you look at the Edinburgh pack, a couple of them are
on their knees, they looked very tired, a few of them were just
flopping over those rucks, the message from Ulster must be keep
playing with pace, Jonathan Davies, the conditioning Head Coach, he has
us that as anybody and if they can manage to keep this intensity,
Edinburgh will have nothing. They have McCloskey, Tommy Bowe, Sean
Reidy coming off the bench. They could have a chance to run away with
this and they must keep sure they put Tovey under pressure. Yes, the
dab. My son has taught me something! Warwick Andrew in the front row for
Ulster. They have more than held their own so far. Under pressure at
the moment, though. Marshall to Nelson. A left footed kicker on the
side of the pitch. Peter Nelson happy to see that they're going
outside of play. Ever could play under pressure. A bit of trouble at
the back of the scrum for Ulster, also have Phil or five left footers,
but a very good clearance under pressure from Peter Nelson. -- four
five. Burleigh changes the tactic. And on
such matters are games one and last stop till you can see what he was
trying to do. Edinburgh's analysis will know that Ludik likes to get up
the defensive line and orbital space behind. A strange decision to kick
so early in the play. -- and a bit of space behind. A good opportunity
for Ulster attack here. They like right-hand scrums. To try and get
the outside edge against them. C what is in store for us now. -- let
us see. 15,000 tickets sold in this game,
not a full house but a healthy crowd here at the Kingspan Stadium.
A study scrum from Ulster. Marshall goes himself.
Down the throat of Peter Nelson, who returns the favour. Excellent
following up by Ludik. Not a lot Hoyland could do. His opponent not
the sort of money want to see breathing down your neck when you
have the ball in your hands. -- the sort of man you want. Edinburgh
happy to run from inside their own half, that was Belly. The
left-winger coming in on the action. You see Edinburgh tonight have gone
with the really big ambition to play from deep, with Phil Burleigh at 12
who can also play ten as a secondary ball player. He has proved a lot of
guts out wide. -- a lot of threats. They are managing to kick well and
that is a very good tackle by Louis Ludik. Ulster looking to end this
losing run. They have to go back seven years to the last time they
lost five consecutive matches. Edinburgh preparing for a European
quarterfinal against the French side. That game has been moved to
Murrayfield. The Challenge Cup. Quarterfinal.
There's the ball, is it going to go back in the Ulster side? Not the
position that Marshall might have wanted. Again, the momentum of the
ball setup for Ulster. Toolis doing defensive work for them. Tricky
ball, but well taken by's. It is past the first man, you're not stop
him. 'S setting up the drive for Ludik! He was like a human bar of
soap. If you don't get hold of Piutau, he will do damage. And Ludik
finished it off. That is a lovely try by Ulster, as you say Piutau
one-on-one is very difficult to beat. I think he has been a much
better threat for Ulster, when you think of Glasgow and a few other
games where who is getting one-on-one bro, it's great for him
to know he has Ludik onside, he is constantly looking. Ludik get that
the outside, he gives Ludik an easy run. Brilliant by Ulster, great to
see them play with some ambition tonight. He can make defenders look
flat-footed. That is the brilliance of Piutau.
Suddenly there's opening two minutes of the match seem a long, long time
ago. -- those two minutes. Can Nelson... No. He has putted
pretty much the same side. That is three tries in the opening 28
minutes -- he has put it. You might be a slightly happier man. I think
he is. Ulster were disappointed in the first couple of minutes -- he
might be a slightly happier man. Very good game management by Peter
Nelson tonight. Ulster wow try away from the bonus point. -- one try.
Marshall. The left foot of Nelson, that is a
terrific touch quickly taken by Bradbury.
We haven't seen an awful lot of him in the last 15 minutes.
It was a kick for Damien Hoyland to chase, but suddenly Hoyland's
failure to clutch that by seems even more noteworthy now. That is a
massive swing in the game. Ulster had a great exit strategy from man
managed to put another score on the board. Edinburgh seem flat now, they
need to get Mata. What might 12- 12 is now Sony 17-5 in Ulster's favour.
He has made seven appearances this year. Scrappy ball by Treadwell.
Carried by the skipper. Here comes Hoyland. A fine tackle,
but he did well to release the ball. Held by Burley. Kinghorn couldn't
pick it up. Is there an Congress might ask when I was. And I think
you can sense that Jason Tovey is a frustrated out of -- is there a
knock-on? There was. They didn't know who it was going to. Had he
managed to let that go on through, I think Kinghorn could open away.
Edinburgh showing ambition. They don't have much to lose today. They
have gone out there and are playing with a lot of wit, Ulster. It's a
lovely evening, both teams are trying to play an attractive brand
of rugby and it's good for us to watch. The start of the night in
ninth position, the former coach they were eighth and ninth. An
opportunity for the acting coach Duncan Hodge to prove that he is
worth the job on a permanent basis. Here goes Nelson. Ludik again.
Olding on by, O'Connor. The ball is being run, an opportunity now, has
he got the support? And he is going to get the bonus point try for
Ulster! With eight minutes left in the first half! That is another
beautiful try by Ulster. With Stuart Olding 12, he is stepping up as
first receiver. After Peter Nelson attacked off the left-hand side of
the scrum, Stuart Olding managed to step up into regular phases and some
lovely better. Great by Stockdale as well. But we can hear is
communication between the players is as best as I have heard of the
season. There is a lot of communication at, and what has been
lacking this season seems to be out there tonight brilliantly.
Nelson to add the two points. And suddenly Ulster are thinking about a
really impressive victory. Absolutely. They have been very good
in the first half. And this opportunity by Edinburgh to go 14-12
up, or 12-12. Had they got it going, you would imagine Ulster would've
been a bit nervous. Another shackles are off and they look like they are
enjoying themselves. -- and now the shackles. It looks like it might be
something sombre, here they come, they have nothing to lose. Inside
the 22. Scrappy ball tidied up by Cosgrove.
Tovey looking for Hoyland. That has worked well. Highland! Brilliantly
forced into touch by Paul Marshall. Saved a try. -- Hoyland. You would
imagine we know would have finished that, but brilliant tackle. Just
manage to get it into touch. With the corner being so far behind. This
manner is from international duty along with Stuart McCloskey to take
place on a replacement bench -- this man is released.
Edinburgh wanting to prove that this game is not done and dusted. Still
five minutes left in the first half. He would expect McInally to be on
the bench, Admiral Cochrane suffering a shoulder injury. -- Neil
Cochrane. Stuart McInally. Is playing a girl, and Edinburgh's
second try of the much. That is going to be frustrating for the
Ulster coach is. Unfortunately, they give away a penalty. But into the
corner. Mice play by Edinburgh. Ulster forward is putting so much
into defending, but slow around the corner. McInally began his rugby
career in the back row. He was showing exactly those foraging and
driving qualities taking over. That is just what stood and went before
half-time, little bit of hope and light. That is very unlike him. I
should -- they want to make show this game is put to bed now. And
hopefully put Edinburgh under pressure. Attacking in the Edinburgh
half is a good outcome from here. A collective towering out of her
amongst the Ulster coach staff. -- towering out hair.
Commented's delight with those green boots, Coetzee. Nelson.
You can hear the band for the first time this evening.
Held by Fraser McKenzie. They won't go down for lack of trying,
Edinburgh. Real initiative. Kinghorn. Finds Burleigh. The
Christchurch born man. Plenty of time for Ludik. He finds his
opposite number, Kinghorn. Here comes the counterattack. It's
Bradbury. To the floor by Darren Cave. I think Les Kiss and company
would happily shut up shop now and take the 14 point advantage and head
into the break, but Edinburgh have other ideas. Burleigh grabbed by a
O'Connor. McInally try scorer. Back. -- forced
back. Too far away to charge out. Taken by Stockdale. The ball is not
out yet. Nelson Vining Piutau, here he goes! Here he goes! He has
support from Marshall! Can Ulster keep it alive? This could be one of
the tries of the season! Could -- it is out. It is well held and driven
on. This could be a 15 man Ulster trial. There is Andrew getting its
hands on the ball. -- Ulster try. Ludik acting at scrum-half.
Marshall. It's a crunching tackle coming in from McKenzie.
For the moment, the momentum has gone, but maybe Coetzee can reignite
matters for Ulster. Henry, Nelson, Piutau! Can he keep under ball all
he find the corner? No, he can't. What a phase. Great attack by Ulster
in the first half. What we like there is the ball's at the back
caused all the problems. The threats behind, wrote that ball carries from
the forwards. Sometimes it's just one person, sometimes four. They
seem to be playing had up rugby, which has been a complaint about
them, but I'd doubt that they're just having fun, plenty of
enthusiasm and ambition. That is the big thing tonight. It is lovely to
watch. Marshall, Cave, Ludik and Stockdale try scorers. Bradbury and
McInally: entertaining half. -- an entertaining first half. Ulster at
half-time leading 24-10. What an exciting, entertaining and
electric first half at the Kingspan Stadium. Six tries in all. Ulster
already with a bonus point. All the fans tonight and all of you watching
at home certainly getting your money's was from Ulster Rugby live
this evening. -- Ulster Rugby Live this evening. It has been a
sensational have. Very interesting. We got off to a nightmare start and
thought the wings were maybe going to come off -- the Wales. Try to
play catch up again, but the boys responded very well. The four tries
that can have an excellent. Really good hands, build-up play. One thing
that Eddie will touch on is the confidence and just the
perseverance, holding onto the ball for an extra couple of phases, not
making silly errors. It's a different Ulster team and so good to
watch. A different Ulster team eventually. The first few minutes,
it was the same old story. What an awful start for Ulster, great for
Edinburgh. It was. You've got to worry about stage for Ulster, having
given up a soft spot to start the game, how to respond. Edinburgh
happened patient here. It came to play. There wasn't much pressure on
them and they just held on to the ball. Ulster paid the price. Not the
best start, but you have to admit they responded really well in coming
back. The quality of rugby has been superb. Edinburgh have played very
well also. When a team is lacking in confidence like Ulster before this
game, credit that they were able to come back so well. There were tight
in defence. When you winger get in, he's got a head in and take the
ball. He goes low, doesn't wrap up the ball. If he hadn't wrapped up
the ball, it wouldn't have been a try. They regrouped, kicked off and
turn things around. As we have said, it has just been really good,
entertaining stuff. Ulster have played some great rugby tonight. The
patience they have shown on the ball and not forcing the game. When they
have had those wraparound passes, quick hands and Piutau has been
outstanding. He was like lightning, you can't tie him down. He is really
killing Edinburgh with his hands on the ball. It makes me wonder why
they kick the ball to him. This is great rugby. It's a tough draw, good
continuity, good off-loading. You can see already that Edinburgh are
backing of because they don't know where to go. Ultimately, fantastic
by Olding behind him. These are top drawer. It all looks a bit more
off-the-cuff. If they spot a gap, they go for it. You can see that
effort by Marshall. Paul Marshall sniffing round the back, and in easy
walking for him. I think everybody to a man has stood up, that is what
Les Kiss probably said in the changing room before the match.
Every single person in that change has to stand up, and they have done
so far. Credit to them for that, they are performing. They had to
come out, they had to play. You have to give credit where it is due. What
would like to see now is the kicked down in the second half, just to
keep their foot on the pedal and not back away. Let us look at the Cave
try. Think he has played row were all night. He has been in and out a
bit this season. Stockdale's carries phenomenal. He has carried the ball
25 minutes. He has dragged a lot of Edinburgh players and it was over
them, it was just a matter of holding onto that damage. I think a
dummy line is being held. They are working the defence, and Edinburgh
don't man up. Darren Cave in the breadbasket. All good quick ball for
Ulster tonight, and it seems to be that everything is working for them.
As well as being patient they are winning collisions. Paul Marshall is
getting from the forwards. He is sliding in self, keeping a defence
guessing. It is just a very good balance, wit and aggression and
directness when they have to be. I think at one stage here, you thought
Edinburgh want to fall away, but they haven't. They are not going to
give up that easy, sizing the second half to start with will be critical.
A player you know well, Brian O'Driscoll, is always very
complimentary about Piutau, absolutely loves him. What he did
hear from us next try had you purring, didn't it? He's just a joy
to watch. As Eddie alluded to, he make something happen every time he
touches ball. He makes tackles, the right decisions at the right time.
For me, he has been Ulster's best player tonight. He can arise be very
dangerous, he knows Ludik is on his side, and a lovely pass again. It's
a nice score from Ulster. That's all Piutau. He doesn't step, he doesn't
break the tackle. He makes everything happen. Watching his body
language, he is looking for work as well. You just want the ball. Every
time he get that, Edinburgh are in a panic, for good reason. Ulster in
the ascendancy, but as you say, Edinburgh battling their way back
into this game. Scored a try before half-time, Jason Tovey a golden
opportunity as well. They should have had another one. I think Chris
Henry is caught slightly wide, Jason Tovey recognises the space, beta. Of
his left foot. Should he have held onto it? For me, he probably should
have. He just recognises a little bit of separation, just a bit too
much between Andrew Warwick and Chris Henry the they should have
just paid back. Had to back himself. That would have brought them back
into the game. Ulster bounced back from that, in fairness. They judged
a bullet, but certainly took advantage. Edinburgh before
half-time, they'll be disappointed to concede this. For all the good
things they have done in the first half. Eddie has talked about it many
times, playing the game in ten minute blocks. Ten minutes before
half-time is always crucial, going into the second half. As in
Humphreys mentioned, this is a bit of a lifeline for Edinburgh in this
game. They probably with the play didn't deserve it, but they are
still there and get over the line, and it's just a little bit too easy
for me. They aren't working hard enough, the forwards not working
hard enough, any easy soft score. It is a danger when you're attacking so
well, everything is going well, you forget you've got to defend as well.
I think Ulster needs to switch their headset onto the defensive side,
recognise that Edinburgh... They need to score at the start of the
second half. If Edinburgh score again, the game is back on. It is as
ridiculous given the quality of rugby we have seen, but it is like
that. I think there will be disappointed with that. They had
switched off a little bit. They were playing so well and didn't defend,
but they needed to. They have given them a lifeline. Defensively, Ulster
is slightly disappointing at times. Offensively there have been
brilliant. The only tried we have not looked at is the one by young
Jason Stockdale, which he took really well. It's just great to
watch. EC Robbie Diack on the touchline, he is holding his wits.
He's actually holding the wits, he has spurred defence. I've been in
the back row many times, it is difficult to hold the wits. Quran
comes to him, the guys do well. And Jason Stockdale who has been
magnificent all night, doesn't just dive there. He makes it easy for
Peter Nelson and it is a 7-point. Has he impressed you tonight,
Stockdale. He was phenomenal in the build-up to Ludik's try. I think he
has been hugely physical, he has held onto the ball. For me, he has
had a big impact on the game. He was responsible for tee scores at the
end of the day. Let us pause on the Pro12 for the moment, because it is
a big weekend in the Six Nations championship. Ireland first up
tomorrow against Italy. It is in Rome. Followed by Wales against
England. On Sunday, Scotland travel to France. The Ireland team are to
play Italy, a couple of changes to the pack for this week. Ryan
replaces Henderson who has tight hamstring with prop Healy taking
over from Jack McGrath. Big news today, Rory Best did not take part
in the captain's run. Are you concerned about his participation
tomorrow in the game? Unconcerned, obviously. But he is the captain,
you know? -- I'm concerned. If he's not fit, he's not fit. If he is 60
or 70%, he shouldn't play. But it will be a bigger loss if he does not
play. Having from a type of game tomorrow as we have seen tonight.
That's what we want to see. I'm thinking Rome tomorrow is supposed
to be good, nice and dry. Transient question, it would be a big loss for
Ireland if Rory Best didn't play. -- to answer your question. Ireland
were defensively disappointing last week against Scotland. No better
team to bounce back against than the weakest team in the group in the Six
Nations. They'll be very disappointed. This kind of very lax
defence, wandering off badly on the short side. And then again, being
beaten off by being too narrow. It's a problem for Ireland in the last
couple of seasons and hasn't gone away. Falling asleep at the
line-out. Scotland use that lineout last year but didn't use the front
of this year. Defensively, you cannot come from three tries again
in Six Nations rugby and come out from it. Because we were winning, we
kind of laughter over it. But it's a big problem. I don't think tomorrow
is a problem, we'll defend well against Italy, we shouldn't get
complacent, though. If Italy score a couple of tries to, we need to ask
questions. Offensively, we need to get this sorted. It is schoolboy
errors by any metric. It is very frustrating to watch by anybody
involved, not just the players. The line-out is an error Ulster are
going to try and get right. Just disappointing last week. Island.
Ireland, yes. That gave Scotland a foothold in the
game. I expect this to be different tomorrow and there to be real
strength. We have had a problem. We had two jumpers, Ian Anderson would
not be comfortable in the second row and that made life difficult per
Rory Best, having just two jumpers against some of the tallest locks in
the game. To compete with Devin Toner. The pressure on the line-out
was immense. The teams are back at the Kingspan Stadium, let us hope
for as entertaining as second-half. Back to Ian and Michael.
Ulster have made a couple of changes. Stuart McCloskey replaces
Darren Cave in the centre. And Herbst, back after injury, returning
to the front row in place of Lutton. Tovey. Gingerly getting back into
the action. That is a good outcome for Ulster, deep kicking, that will
be a loss for Edinburgh, because he has been a threat in the first half.
Neat work by Treadwell. Hugh healers. In the second half it is
Edinburgh who have started sleepily. -- here he is. Marshall. The fellow
just one. The big presence of McCloskey in the midfield. Robbie
Diack. And the Ulster tales are up, whatever Les Kiss said at half-time,
that was unfortunate. Finally, there is a chance for Kennedy to clear the
danger. Back into trouble. That is the man he did not want to give the
ball to, Piutau. Coetzee. On the basis of the first 40 minutes, he is
a firm favourite. Ludik, one of the try scorers. And Stockdale, who
scored before Christmas in the defeat away. Warwick. McCloskey with
a clean 22 on his Jersey. There is no sign of Ulster taking their foot
off the pedal. Very nearly through, it takes two men to bring him down.
Edinburgh have barely touched the ball at the start of the second
half. Good hands. Olding held off the challenge of Brown. Coetzee. But
she stopped him but he could not bring him down. Nelson, changing the
angle of attack. McCloskey. The advantage being played for Ulster.
Herbst. No advantage. Terrific start to the second half? Very nice baby
Ulster, Coetzee being involved heavily and Stuart Olding getting
into the second phase behind those carriers, but only a threat out wide
but that also softens the carriage for the forwards. Nice to see Ulster
playing with ambition and Nelson changing the point of attack, you
hope that Ulster keep playing with this ambition and put some nice
attacking shapes on it, they don't decide to shut up shop and be
content with winning. Concern for Jason Tovey.
Of the two former Ulster players on the bench, Allen and schools. --
Rory Scholes. Ulster have a decent attacking position. Kinghorn going
off. Rory Scholes comment on. He will look forward to a very big
impact, he scored a lot of tries and is a dangerous attacking player and
Ulster will be keen not to give him too much space. He scored five tries
for Ulster, Rory Scholes. Campbell College man. Kinghorn making his way
off. Andrew has the ball in his hands at
the back of all that, Herbst. Not taking any prisoners! Sobol in the
end, taken on by Herbst. -- slow ball. In a change to the normal
receiver, McCloskey takes this on. Ulster have got the Edinburgh line
in their sides. Marshall. Driven on by Treadwell.
Marshall looking up. Maintaining possession? Well, Nelson, Piutau!
That was a high tackle. He took the colour from his Jersey. Marshall,
slapping around the fringes, confidence flowing for Ulster. Can
they've finish this off? -- carnet. Couple of metres short, McCloskey
has got support. Just held up. Marshall, Herbst. And the ball on
that occasion was like the proverbial bar of soap for Herbst.
Ulster have not let up in this opening five minutes of the second
half. Edinburgh have been pinned down inside their own 22. And here
they go, little bit of initiative! And beautifully done. Quickly taken
by Stockdale, Ludik. The crowd are getting their money's worth, no
doubt about that. Marshall, the attempted kick for Olding and
that'll be an Ulster line-out. Again, great attack by Ulster and I
think the encouraging thing is that throughout that passage of play,
Ulster may Howard 13 different carriers and that means the
Edinburgh defence don't have an easy point of attack to go after and you
can see Coetzee carrying the ball and Chris Henry and Herbst and the
forwards, it makes the job for everybody easier and it gives them
the point of difference that everybody is putting their hand up.
The last Emperor Peter Nelson, Rory Scholes actually scored the try for
Ulster against Edinburgh back in 2015, that is just how long ago it
was. Stockdale. You can sense the Ulster players want to get their
hands onto the ball. Ludik staying strong. Marshall. Nelson. Top job
for Treadwell. Piutau. Nice little bit of room. Ulster being patient.
They might have a problem because Treadwell has taken a blow to the
foot and is limping but he says he does not need treatment, Ulster
still have 15 men on the park. McCloskey. He get the sense that
Edinburgh are tearing out in the defence already in the opening
stages of the second half. -- tiring out. Here is Andy Warwick. Marshall,
Nelson. Olding very nearly sent Piutau in there. The ball is still
there for Ulster. Coetzee. Marshall. Can they find their way through?
Olding. Edinburgh just cannot get their hands on the ball. Coetzee.
Marshall. Nelson. Ludik. Stockdale, three defenders in front of him, he
has taken on Tom Brown and has kept the ball alive for Ulster. Tidied up
by Henry. At the moment Edinburgh are down to 14, back to 15. Clever
hands. Warwick. He maybe should have given the ball to Olding earlier.
The attacker still there, it is never ending, can they finish it
off? The curse of the commentator! Mata. There were three or four men
outside of him. And here they come, Edinburgh. McInally. It is
exhausting, watching this! Continuous play for about five
minutes! Mata. Treatment for an Edinburgh player on
the far side. They are not going to kick it! Jason Tovey defying
expectations. They are going to play their way out of their own 22, they
are not going to kick it. Kennedy with the box kick. Piutau sizing up
his opposite number, Tom Brown. The pass was fired out of Ludik. Not
forward, says Nigel Owens. That was a long period of play. You can see
that both teams are just on their feet, Ulster, probably five players
coming back from long-term injury so you would imagine... I can hear the
side of benches about to be cleared! Players walking everywhere, and the
boys from Edinburgh look even worse, they are hoping this injury lasts so
they can get their breath back. Ulster look like they're playing
conditioning games preseason, keeping the ball alive,
enthusiastic, great to see. They worry will be the fact that Piutau
is getting treatment but hopefully it is nothing serious because it has
been a great night so far and they don't want any negatives after
tonight. A change at scrum-half Edinburgh, Hidalgo-Clyne replacing
John Kennedy. Nine Scottish caps, Hidalgo-Clyne, born in Spain. And
that is not what the Ulster fans want to see. Piutau limping away.
That is a worry. He has been a massive threat tonight along with
others but hopefully the fact that he can walk away shows this is not a
bad sign that this is a huge disappointment. Tommy Bowe, coming
on. Usually experienced and he will enjoy playing in front of the home
crowd but Piutau has been unbelievable tonight and he has been
the focal point for Ulster and along with Coetzee, they have lead by
example and the rest of the team have been feeding off them. Keep the
energy high because Ulster are very fit. Piutau, again. The challenge
coming in from Brown. Off the bench at Murrayfield last week for Ireland
and tonight for Ulster, Tommy Bowe. Still 30 minutes to play. Terrific
levels of fitness from both sides and another brilliant Ulster
scrummage. Edinburgh in trouble, Coetzee, Marshall, Nelson, here is
Ludik with room in front of him. Stockdale. He perhaps should have
kept the ball in hand, that is a dive and the touchdown for the man
just on the park, Hidalgo-Clyne. The second or third scrummage taken
against the head. They are putting Edinburgh under so much pressure and
you can understand what Stockdale is doing, Scholes coming up but
Edinburgh are looking to relieve this pressure.
Libra have not been in Ulster's half in the second half. -- Edinburgh.
Just that little pause while Stockdale considers his options. He
runs into McCullum. Nelson. Tommy Bowe, ball in hand. Rousing cheer
from the faithful. As ever. Coetzee waiting to receive. Setting up for
Marshall. Elson. Little bit of action midfield for John Andrew.
Marshall looking at the options, he goes narrow. McCloskey. All of this
possession and territorial dominance but Ulster have not put one point on
the board in the second half and Edinburgh are having to run the ball
from wherever they find it. Ulster have the ball back, another
turnover, Marshall. That is a chase into the corner. And it might yet be
there for Ulster! Jason Tovey, I do not think his team-mates know what
he is going to do but that a patient, Edinburgh got away with
that. I settle kick by Paul Marshall after the turnover, it means
Edinburgh have to play it and Scholes touched the touchline.
Ulster want to stay here and hopefully turn over possession and
get some points on the board. Rory Scholes is relieved. Here comes
Ludik. Taken down by McCallum. Coetzee. The Beast at work. Nelson,
Olding. He finds Tommy Bowe. Coetzee. He does not look like a man
just back after ten months? Nelson. Ludik. McCloskey tried to spin on
the challenge. Marshall, looking to the corner. Nelson and Olding.
Nelson with the corner. Straight into the hands of Scholes. And
straight into the hands of Peter Nelson. Nelson appealing that he was
impeded. Nothing doing, says the referee. Here, Edinburgh. Dean,
Burley. Not quite the same pace. Hidalgo-Clyne. The skipper,
McInally. Was that forward? Flat, says the referee. Here is Tom Brown,
against Tommy Bowe. Mata asking for the ball and getting it. Tackle
coming in from Herbst. Hidalgo-Clyne. Should be
Stockdale's. That was an awkward bounce back the Ulster winger. Nice
play by that replacement scrum-half. Edinburgh are not out of this, if
they can get the score, they will feel they are right back in this.
You can see Ulster are starting to retire right, very fast-paced first
55 minutes and the key is to keep concentration and have a good exit
strategy. Probably use the right foot of Ludik. Or a box kick from
Marshall. In the first half Edinburgh made rare forays into the
Ulster 22 but they were very profitable. Dangerous with the ball
in hand, Edinburgh. When they could not get Mata onto the ball, he has
been prominent in the last ten minutes with Edinburgh attacking and
you need two men to attack him otherwise it gets the Flood, and
that is what Edinburgh are doing, playing at a high pace with floods.
I think Ulster should keep switched on here and they can push through. A
change in the Edinburgh front row. Definitely for Ulster. Callum Black
coming on. The man making his way off, Andrew Warwick. And George
Turner replacing McInally in the front row as hooker. And Fraser
McKenzie has taken it upon himself to take over as captain because
Nigel Owens asked him, effectively! Tidy ball taken by O'Connor.
Coetzee. Marshall gets it back and Ulster are trying to get a more
central position for Peter Nelson or Ludik, in the end. Decent touch
fined by the Ulster full-back. Ludik did well under pressure, after the
first snowball, whenever Coetzee had to step in field, I thought Marshall
might have box kicked that to take the pressure off but Edinburgh have
a good attacking position and hopefully Ulster can turn the ball
over in a couple of phases and get back to Edinburgh have. It does
sound amazing that with 15 minutes in the first half -- second half and
we have not seen one point. Troy Merritt finding Toolis. -- Turner.
Another score from Edinburgh would make this interesting, not in the
way the home fans would hope for. Still rolling forward. Hidalgo-Clyne
having a little word with Tovey. He also has the winger, Brian. Up
against Black. The referee has a look. Knocked on? Hidalgo-Clyne
cannot get the ball back and Ulster have taken it. Schools. Up against
his old friend, Tommy Bowe. -- Scholes. Highland. -- Hoyland. Some
belief being injected into Edinburgh. Bradbury, it seems a long
time ago since you went over without opening try. Tovey. Plenty of
support, Toolis. Mata. Scholes is with them. Toolis. Turner. Creeping
forward, Edinburgh. Tovey, there are men over here and they are on the
corner. And suddenly they are back into the game and it is Damien
Hoyland. He scored in the factory in Scotland before Christmas and
Hoyland has got Edinburgh back into this. I think Hidalgo-Clyne has made
a huge difference since coming on. He has raised the pace of the game
and that is lovely passing from Jason Tovey. Mata is hugely
influential for this Edinburgh team, carrying the ball in one hand, like
McWilliams a few years ago, very clinical. They have not been able to
create any scoring chances in the second half and that is the first or
second chance from Edinburgh and they have managed to score. Perhaps
not expecting the pass in the first half from Tovey, definitely
expecting that pass. A man about to make his 50th appearance for Ulster,
Sean Reidy. He will enter this game at a very pivotal point. Into the
last corner. -- quarter. And Edinburgh since they still have a
chance. -- they can sense. Very important kick. Hidalgo-Clyne with
it. Did not make it. Relief for the home fans. Nine points still 20
minutes left. This is a huge next five minutes, Sean Reidy is on and
Coetzee has had a great game, very big impact. This is a game that
should have Ulster running in the wide channels, Ulster need the next
score. If he can keep that level of performance up, he will be a massive
hit at the Kingspan. Sean Reidy, his 50th appearance. And for all of that
territorial dominance, Ulster are trailing in the second half by five
but -- 5-0. Tovey. Toolis with the long hair. Hidalgo-Clyne, another
left footed kicker. He was expecting to put them there. Marshall has been
nabbed. Ludik acting at the scrum-half for Reidy. And a vital 20
minutes in the Ulster season coming up. Marshall. Tommy Bowe is going to
chase this. Ulster about to bring on Peter Browne. Tovey. He does well
for Edinburgh. That is a long pass from Burnley. --
Burleigh. Can Mata keep the ball alive? We have seen all evenly that
Edinburgh will attack from deep, not the best kick from Hidalgo-Clyne.
Stockdale thought about putting his boot to the ball and instead retains
possession for Ulster. Herbst. Into the final quarter. -- quarter.
Ulster have the bonus point. They will hold on hopefully for victory.
Nelson. Henry. Nelson for the corner. Well fielded by Tovey. Very
nicely fielded by Nelson. That was Tommy Bowe trying to make his way
through the traffic. And I think one of the Edinburgh players has come
off the worse in that collision. Ian Humphreys, these are very two sets
of players, certainly the players who started. They are exhausted.
This has been a very long passage of play, both teams have the idea of
not kicking into touch, they are kicking long or just to compete and
it means they have played for a very long time and these boys would only
be training in batches of three minutes so when it gets to this
length of time, the shape is gone and you need nines and tens to
organise things because the forwards have been on their feet, set piece
to set piece and they need to be bossed around and from up here it is
good to see, you can hear the voices, Stuart Olding and Stuart
McCloskey, Peter Nelson, just bossing around the players and that
is what they need. Ulster's shape has been very good tonight, playing
exciting rugby and they are enjoying it, they are keen to get their hands
on the ball and just express themselves and they seem to be
playing with the freedom they have not had in recent weeks and it is
exciting to be a fan when they play this way. Despite it being quite
tight, the key is they do not go into their shells and they continue
to play. Peter Browne replacing Treadwell. Brian started in their
last four European matches. -- Browne. The medical truck is on for
the Edinburgh man. Tommy Bowe, as you saw running
through, collided with him. He has not moved since then. He seems to
have been hit by Tommy Bowe tried to get past, he was trying to block and
as a chaser you are allowed to get them out of the way and he has tried
to shepherd him out of the way. Very innocuous, it might just be
whiplash. Bye Rory Scholes. Concern being
shown. I think one of the impressive things
from Ulster tonight has been the leadership of Henry. Every time you
have seen a break in play, here's gathered them around and chatted to
them. What we saw was the same from Marcel Coetzee. When you bring in
those big players, you hope they lead by example. He was out there
tonight, leading by word and action. If you can all of a sudden get the
likes of Chris Henry, Rory Best, Marcel Coetzee in there, that brings
a team on, vocal as leaders. The problem for teams, they might be
looking to Paddy Jackson, but we have heard a lot of voices tonight.
Peter Nelson has been instrumental in organising. It makes the team
more of a threat, because all know what is going on. Fraser McKenzie in
the second row who is down. As a result, the Ospreys winning to take
over at the top. Munster will have other ideas. An early kick-off in
Italy. Scarlet started the night in fourth, and Glasgow, fifth --
Scarlet started on fourth, Glasgow and fifth. Munster retain their
dominance at the top. If there is one message that Les Kiss's teams
could transmit now, what would it be the last 18 minutes of this match?
Think field positions is important, because is to have them playing a
lot at the ten metre line. With the dangerous backs in the ten Edinburgh
but line-up, without contradicting myself, stay positive. You don't
want to just be kicking ball away. It's a case of taking a couple of
phases to nip it in the backfield, and then Peter Nelson sweeping down
the left and Ludik down the right, and playing behind the defence.
Because the Edinburgh full-backs are closing the gate quite quickly.
Getting up the defensive line and leaving a lot of kicks base. They
need to keep playing with ambition, because you can see how excited they
are whenever they are playing the balls at the back. At the same time,
don't ever played, get in the right position where Edinburgh can't hurt
them. Lewis Carmichael is on for Edinburgh. Les Kiss well aware
importance of the remaining moments of this game. The smiles are back on
the faces here at the Kingspan. I think the Ulster club shop did well
over Christmas, didn't it? The quality of the systems that
Fraser McKenzie has received has been top notch -- of assistance. All
that strapping in and padding. It's hopefully not an indication of a
serious injury. And purely precautionary.
They are nothing if not warm and welcoming to visitors here at the
Kingspan. Lewis Carmichael is on for McKenzie. And the restart. What will
the long delay have done to these sides? Remember, Edinburgh
themselves are looking for a try scoring bonus point. And it just
feels that that try and break in play is affecting the Ulster
concentration here stopped as you mentioned earlier, they have had a
few defeats and their pays on your mind this stage of the game. The
Ulster players were a bit slow to get underway, and he threw the ball
straight into them. A bit of gamesmanship, but he knows that a
penalty put them in bonus range and with winning the game. He has made a
huge difference to this Edinburgh team. He has brought up the
intensity they play with, and you see how much of a threat himself he
is. He has what could well turn out to be an absolutely vital kick. If
he can get this over, Hidalgo-Clyne, the lead is down to six. And you
don't need a mathematical genius to work out that a converted try would
put Edinburgh into the lead. And all Ulster's possession and territorial
dominance at the start of the second half, that will have been long
forgotten. There is no wind. Hidalgo-Clyne write down the middle.
And suddenly there's a bit of a nervy atmosphere. 24-18, 15 minutes
left to go. You have nailed it. The crowd have gone quiet, very nervous,
they've been here the last couple of weeks. You can hear the silence.
This is where you need your players like Chris Henry to stand up and
drive the team through. There are a lot of guys returning from injury
and they need experienced guys to pull them through the next 15
minutes. Michael Allen coming on for Phil Burleigh.
We're in for a nervy finish to this one, I think. Ludik is bad. -- is
there. The combination of Turner and Brown bring him down.
Edinburgh changing their captain yet begun. That is good work by Reidy.
Next score at vital. Nelson hasn't been put to the floor, is now. Jamie
Ritchie is down for Edinburgh. John Andrew and Chris Henry outside
him. Helps to -- Herbst grabbed by the Edinburgh replacement. Brilliant
defence by Edinburgh. Ulster putting them and all sorts of pressure. A I
stepped on by Alan O'Connor. A member's defence just not giving up.
-- Edinburgh's defence. They have been very threatening the last 20
minutes. The Tongan back row is on as well.
And David Shanahan replacing Paul Marshall. Who has worked and worked
and worked his socks off this evening. He Paul Marshall has played
row well tonight, coming back into the starting line-up has helped
Peter Nelson coming in with Paul's experience is marshalled the
forwards very well, moved the team around with the kicking and a very
important try saving tackle on the corner. Shanahan will bring the
intensity, and bring more intensity to the team.
There is the impact of Reidy on Jamie Ritchie. That is the prop
signed on a short-term loan. From more stuff. -- from
Worcester. Ulster suddenly have conceded a penalty. The combination
of black and brown. A coach's nightmare. Edinburgh are under all
sorts of trouble. Ulster defence is good, well organised, good chance to
turn over, the story of Ulster all season a cheap turnover. Jamie
Ritchie having a head injury assessment, replaced by the man who
normally plays prop. It's been a just rented last ten
minutes because of all the stoppages. At the moment, it is
working in Ulster's favoured -- it has been a disjointed last. Ball
still was Edinburgh's Turner, the replacement hooker. Hidalgo-Clyne,
and relief for Ulster. Edinburgh not releasing, and that is a cry of
relief around the Kingspan Stadium. Brilliant defence by Callum Black.
Got himself blocked on the ball whenever Edinburgh got himself
isolated, brilliant massive turnover. Hopefully Peter Nelson can
relieve the pressure. Take a deep breath. They have two remember they
are still winning this game, they don't have to chase anything. Go
back to basic play, whether that is a box-kick or McCloskey of the
middle and play from now. Jamie Ritchie will not be returning to the
fray. Edinburgh will have a prop in their back row.
Blood injury. John Andrew getting worked on. I think you realise till
on the big screen. A little lick around the lip of John Andrew. -- I
think he realised he was on. The anthem for the first time this
evening. Is it going to inspire Ulster to hold on and end of this
losing run? Is a hooker has the ball in hand,
Shanahan. Tommy Bowe is underneath it. Reidy has picked it up.
Shanahan, Nelson. Oh, finding McCloskey, holding off the
challenge. Wonderful run by McCloskey. Shanahan, another
Edinburgh man down. That is Brown with the red headband. Once again
Edinburgh down to 14. Chris Henry. And who does well to release, but he
threw a wide passed in Ludik's direction. -- Andrew does. Stockdale
has made himself available on the narrow side, not needed. Driven on
by Callum Black. Momentary pause in this breathless second half, and
Stuart Olding. And suddenly possession for Edinburgh in a
dangerous position. It's great vision by Peter Nelson, Stuart
Olding, a big overlap against front row. But it's just a little bit of
inaccuracy, tired legs perhaps. You see him stretching his calves out.
You're in Ulster to play with ambition and be positive, but at the
same time you saw them all relied up ready for the box-kick, perhaps that
would of been at better option. Credit for trying to keep playing
and stay positive. But maybe, you see Edinburgh, plenty of space at
the back. I think Dave Shanahan has made a good impression coming on.
You want Ulster to put the phase together, get some field position
and make either a penalty try obviously would be ideal. A few
cheap turnover is an losing field position to easy at times. I think
Michael Allen inadvertently got a McCloskey boot in the face.
Edinburgh must be down to their last sub, if Mercury listed -- used it.
So Belly is coming back on. He won't be too pleased if he has any bruises
on his face, a good-looking lad! -- Burleigh is coming back on. He
didn't expect to come back to Belfast and shed some blood for
Edinburgh. I would guess that Edinburgh have cleared their entire
bench. And Phil Burleigh is coming back on to replace Michael Allen.
Have we ever known as many stoppages in a half of rugby? I think it's due
to the fact that neither team are really kicking out a Mirror has been
in play. It has been hugely entertaining -- how long the ball
has been in play. There have been -- will be a few tired and sore bodies
tomorrow, especially for those who have been out for a long time.
Credit to the condition, and the fact that Peter Nelson, Stuart
Olding, they are lasting the full 80 minutes. Darren Cave had a great
game, I would imagine he was planning to come on follow other two
dies. Ulster have extended their lead against the Dragons. -- the
other two guys. The 30 point victory earlier on for the Ospreys. Spy have
to keep winning to stay in touch. -- so they have do. They have that game
in hand. But they have to keep beating the teams below them, and
that includes Edinburgh. And that a very sad sight indeed. Michael Allen
back in Belfast. And having to go off only a matter of minutes after
coming on. So at this rate, I think wing may be
going to charge into Newsnight. I'm not sure we've ever done before.
It's been a great game. I just hope for Ulster's point of view they can
hold on. For the 25, 30 minutes in the first half where there were so
good, I think they deserve. Credit to Edinburgh, they have never given
up despite going behind so far. You thought Ulster had it in the back,
but that try before half-time, we talked about it and hoped it would
be a major factor. We can see the wound. He looks totally dazed. He
has the oxygen mask back on the face. The synthetic round of
applause for the man who at the minute possibly doesn't quite know
where he is. Certainly dazed, and bloodied. Michael Allen being slowly
taxied off the pitch. I think won pretty much left with the 35th
players. So we restart again after a long delay. The second half has
lasted about an hour already it feels. Still six points the
difference. Edinburgh with players playing out of position in the pack,
and they have conceded a penalty. Again, not releasing. Remember,
Ulster at half-time lead 24-10. Another good Ulster scrummage,
excellent work by Shanahan and Chris Henry. They didn't recycle the ball.
Holding on, and Peter Nelson will lead. The forwards really stepped up
when they did. And lovely turnover by Reidy in the end. Chris Henry
than obviously was first at it and then Reidy finished it off. Still
the game is in the balance. Taken by Diack. Reserves of energy being
tapped now. The pack being urged forward. Look at the options.
Brilliant by the Ulster Park. Shanahan makes clear what's going to
happen. McCloskey. McCloskey keeps the ball live for Ulster.
It's all just a bit slow and Ulster look as if they have lost this ball.
Turnover for Edinburgh, and here they come. They keep thinking about
kicking and deciding not to. Is there a sting in the tail for the
home side? Hoyland, try scorer in the second half.
They're looking for a gap, they are probing, they are going to find one.
The chase is on. Rory Scholes piling forward for Edinburgh, awkward bunch
for Ulster. He was first? It is Olding, McCloskey. Nobody outside
him, you'll have to go himself. Willing from Shanahan, excellent
support running. He's unlucky. His jersey just touch the line. Very
unlucky. Edinburgh unlucky as well, it could have gone anywhere, a
massive bounce back into Olding's hands. They'll be disappointed not
to finish this off as well. McCloskey can just find, good
defence by Hidalgo-Clyne again. Ulster in dangerous territory. By
the law of diminishing returns, but must've been that Murphy is going to
appear, one else has come off the bench for Ulster. He is coming on
for Alan O'Connor. I think John Andrew has been very good today, his
line it has been very accurate, I think that is a hugger coming on for
second row. We'll see John Andrew probably shift to the back road --
ul-Haq are coming on. Murphy was 25 on Monday, his second appearance for
the team. Came on against the Scarlet a year ago, Jonny Murphy. He
is coming on tonight against Edinburgh for the last six minutes
of the game and Ulster now have a player playing out of position in
the pack. O'Connor makes his way off. This is
Edinburgh. And this is Bradbury. Held up by Diack. And brilliantly
done, pats on the back all round. Jonny Murphy only on the park. Big
impact. We have seen himself and Diack, the first and Ulster have
made from the choke tackle. McCloskey from a few times and
recently referees are trying to get away. Great defence now, opportunity
for Ulster to close this game out. A massive overturning of possession
for Ulster. But this game is not done and dusted! And Edinburgh team
happy to run the ball from deep. Ulster need a solid scrummage. So
yes, they have Sean Andrew on this nearside.
Don't think this is a back row you might see again for Ulster, Andrew
Henry and Reidy. The huge Ben Toolis. I somehow
sensed nobody's leaving the Kingspan Stadium early. Bye trying to make a
break. It takes a couple of them to bring him down. -- bye trying. If
Ulster can get a fifth try. And here they come, running from
deep, little chip over the top. Isn't going to bounce favourably for
the men in black? Yes, it is. Three minutes left. It's taken on by
Carmichael the replacement. Inside the all-star half. Ulster go from a
phase of attack to run defence -- inside the all-star half. Is there
anybody there in a black jersey? Burleigh keeps it alive. Nails being
bitten all around the stadium. That's the Ulster 22 metre line.
Appealing the ball, and Edinburgh can't believe it, they concede a
penalty. Off their feet and Ulster get the penalty. This is like a Six
Nations game, isn't it? A little bit of a soft penalty by Edinburgh, but
what a counterattack. Great plague sweeping round, chip, recover.
Ulster might be relieved. -- great play. Those are the kind of
decisions that frustrate you as a player.
Two minutes away from victory. Browne.
John Andrew of ball in hand. -- with ball. If Ulster can keep this going
for another 150 seconds... Shanahan. McCloskey crunched to midfield.
Tapping and not releasing the man. McCloskey helped to his feet. Ulster
quite fortunate there, very good tackle on McCloskey in midfield, a
little bit predictable by Ulster. Despite the size of McCloskey, you
still need a bit of deception on the play. This will hopefully kill the
game now if Peter Nelson can put this in the Edinburgh have, just
drive and kill the clock. Very impressive return to action from
Peter Nelson. In injury affected season, Ulster were coming players
back. Nelson has made a big impact the evening. He is so confident. Try
all-star roster to them. They are making their own fans sweat. --
Ulster. It is now or never for Edinburgh. They've got to keep this
ball moving, keep it alive. A good tackle by Olding. Edinburgh
replacement has been the thick of the action the last ten or 15
minutes. The little school box is about to turn right. -- square box.
Belliard, 80 minutes. Ulster need to get their hands on a ball. They need
to force a mistake out of Edinburgh. They're not going to kick the ball,
they have to keep it in hand. Hidalgo-Clyne, Tovey. It is
Bradbury, opening try scorer in this match. Can Nelson get it out of
play? Not quite done by Nelson. Edinburgh the last chance saloon.
Hidalgo-Clyne can possibly a candidate for Edinburgh's man of the
match. Ulster hands being pointed, close the gaps. Can they force a man
out of play? The break's been half made. That is taken on by Fihaki,
the Tongan. Tovey, any other time he might have kicked it. Bradbury.
Ulster have got to force the man out of play. Astonishing finish to this
game. Retaining possession, and Ulster have done enough. And they
haven't violent touch. -- they haven't found touch. It's
all over. Never has a blast of his whistle had been greeted with more
relief than here. At the Kingspan Stadium. As Ulster have somehow held
on in the disjointed second half for a 6-point victory.
It turned out to be about 55 minutes in the second half. Very
entertaining to watch and after all that has happened in the last few
months, five points. There will be areas to work on but the positive
things have to be Peter Nelson, Coetzee, Stuart Olding, we hope the
injury to Piutau is not serious but Ulster have to be positive. Some of
the first-half play when they had ambition and they seemed to play
what is in front of them. As if it was preseason and that is the way
this team has to play. They have the bonus point by half-time, leading at
the break, all that dominance at the start of the second half was not
turned into points. The try from Hoyland and the late Hidalgo-Clyne
penalty made the home fans sweat but Ulster have ended the losing run,
winning here. Let us hope that man is not badly injured. 24-18.
That was a game that left us breathless. Ulster in the end
breathing a sigh of relief and wondering how, after scoring the
bonus point in the first-half, they were left to cling on by the
fingernails in the second. This is the table. Ulster is still in sixth
place. Just three points behind the Glasgow Warriors. Ulster with the
game in hand against Zuber rugby. Munster still topping the table
after that bonus point win. Scarlets beat Glasgow at the Ospreys beat
Zebre tonight. Stephen Ferris and Eddie O'Sullivan, Ulster had a
brilliant first-half, the second half simply did enough to do the
job. Just about? Eddie O'Sullivan is not allowed to come back to Belfast!
Every time he is here it is tight. That ten minute period in the second
half, we should have got points on the board, just to keep things
ticking over and we did not score any point. Playing towards the clock
like we had won the toss, the way we played the game, it was a
disappointing second half, injuries did not help, Darren Cave was a big
loss in not starting. It did not happen, we did not get that first
score. Just before half-time that this was a lifeline for Edinburgh
and they took that. Yes, it is positive for Ulster with the bonus
point and that 5-point return after that disappointing run but after the
match you feel deflated after that second-half performance? We are
seeing a team that is shy on confidence and only first-half you
would not have known that watching them but you could see the changing
tempo when they let Edinburgh back, they did not score for ten minutes,
Edinburgh defending for 12 minutes in the second-half and Ulster had
not scored and suddenly Edinburgh saw that and Ulster sensed that. I
think Piutau was a huge loss. Darren Cave played well but it is the sense
of a team that just do not trust themselves in these situations. They
got the result, they need one of these results to convince them they
are back on the road but it was nervous at the end and you have to
think that in a tighter game it might have gone the wrong way. You
did mention Piutau. Your Man of the Match, perhaps half of the match.
The first-half was pure brilliance. The standout in the first-half and
that was what won the match for Ulster. His brilliance, every time
he touched the ball he made something happen, joy to watch. When
he went off Ulster seemed to just shut down. Even though they had
Tommy Bowe on the pitch, he just does not have the impact he has.
Hopefully that injury is not a concern. He has been like that all
season and tonight the game suited him, plenty of width. Getting his
hands on the ball and he was terrorising the Edinburgh defence
but he left the field and the tempo dropped and Darren Cave going as
well. It goes back to that confidence issue around the team, we
saw that fear factor creeping in as the game went on and Edinburgh were
But this is five points and he said before the game, they would take
this five points. We can hear from Charles Piutau. Shivering down here.
What is the injury? Not bad, I have to talk to the doctors but I am
feeling all right. Hopefully not bad. How stressful was that last 20
minutes? I was watching on the sidelines and I think the boys did a
great job to close the game and this is a class side, Edinburgh, they
have been playing great rugby. Was it a case of, we just need to win?
In the first-half, we had a great performance and we conceded and as a
second-half went on, lamenting changed how they play to close the
game but I am glad to have a better game. The spark seems to be in the
back line again? Credit to the forwards, they said a great place
for us. And they took the opportunity. Coetzee is learning
quickly, he has his coach! He did really well, congratulations. Coming
back from long trip injuries, they are terrific for us. What was the
experience like? It has been a long wait? It is nice to be on the park
playing with world-class players like Charles. Just glad to get
factory and we will build on that. What about the atmosphere? It was a
rousing sendoff when you came off the pitch? Great support base and
they have been awesome, all of the fans and everything, we must thank
them for tonight. Support means a lot for the team and next week is
another challenge and we will expect the same crime. Are you motivated to
push on and do special things? Yes, with the team, were hungry, we will
look at this game and take it every game but on Monday it will analyse
everything and build on this performance. Thank you. It was good
to speak to you. Jim Conlon will present the award for Man of the
Match. Well done. Coetzee, we should learn a thing or two! We don't have
any coats. The backs were brilliant. Brilliant platform and he was in the
middle of everything, Coetzee? Great performance. Exactly what he wanted
after that ten month lay-off, he can see him talking that he has the bit
between his teeth, he put his hand up to carry the ball a lot more than
I thought he would have and they will see a lot more of him on the
ground. Stealing more ball, he has a massive unit. Andy Ward said he was
walking around Tesco that he could not believe the size of him.
Hopefully more of what we could see tonight. He is a great asset. Are
you impressed? Outstanding workrate. To back from that sort of lay-off,
you would think it would take awhile to get back and he kept the tempo
up, he lasted longer than I thought, not just on the field but his
workrate, doing all the hard graft. And he probably was tired and he
came off. The second-half was hard to watch as a Ulster fan but the
first-half, let us reflect on what was very positive for Ulster. They
scored four cracking tries and if they are to kick on the seafront,
this is the highlights reel they want to look at. In the second half
also, Edinburgh were coming back but you must give them credit. Six
points, Edinburgh but looking like coming back but they closed the game
and they ran down the clock when they needed to, they did not get out
of jail but they got over the line. There are positives to be taken from
the second-half but no doubt the first-half, those tries and the
rugby and the off-loads and the speed of the ball from the ruck, it
was on a plate to Paul Marshall and when you have world-class players
like Piutau and Coetzee, things will happen. When those lads went off, it
did affect them. When you have a bonus point at half-time it is
almost a case of thinking we have the job done. And I suppose we saw
the second-half unfolding and we felt that Ulster, had they scored
again, it would have clicked on. If professional rugby, it means don't
give the opposition and even break and ten minutes into the second-half
Edinburgh should have been dead and buried and Labour back in the game.
Those lifelines breathe life into the opposition but the team that
goes through, feeling the pressure having to win, and the pendulum is
swinging away, the energy drops and they have to look at that, they will
be in tighter games down the track but the more games like this under
your belt, the more of the guys believe. It could have gone the
wrong way tonight but full credit, fantastic first-half, but fantastic
second but they got the job done and it would have been a tragedy and an
injustice had they lost. Not pretty in the end but important they got
five points. By getting the job done, that will give them confidence
to kick on and have a positive run with a lot of home games? It has
been talked about. They have a lot of games coming up and they must
make them count, they have to get five points and when they get
Edinburgh at home at Zebre at home, you have to get five points and move
up the leaderboard, we are playing catch-up, Leinster and the Ospreys,
when they drop points? It will be very tough to get there. If they
keep winning and getting five points, they will make the job
easier. In the last four games on the run, they were difficult, the
Ospreys, Munster and Leicester, I think it is Cardiff, those last four
games give them no chance to drop the ball in the incoming games but
they have three games with Italian sides and with all due respect, they
should put those in the bank. Do you fancy Ulster for the top four? If
they build momentum in the next five or six games, they probably can't,
those last four games will decide the season but I would worry about
those games because there is a tight space at the moment, they have no
room for error but they will have those international boys back.
Hopefully it'll be a different situation. Top four? Yes, there is a
chance but for me, I cannot see the other teams dropping points to lead
Ulster get back in. They are playing catch-up at this stage, it is
difficult. Everything is possible, if they can get these world-class
players playing every week, Libby first-half, this should be first out
that they were all about sweat as they can do it. Thank you both very
much. Tomorrow, it is utterly against Ireland, live commentary on
BBC Radio Ulster. That is it from the Kingspan Stadium, Ulster back
with a win. Goodbye. Do you have
any prior motoring convictions? Can you confirm that you will be
adhering to the speed limit?
It's sixth placed Ulster who welcome tenth placed Edinburgh to Kingspan Stadium in round 14 of the Pro12 tournament. Edinburgh triumphed 28 - 17 in their meeting earlier this season after a blistering start which saw them score two tries inside the first ten minutes. Ulster will be hoping for a better result to keep them in contention for a place in the play offs.
Stephen Watson presents the action live with analysis from Stephen Ferris and Eddie O'Sullivan, with Michael McNamee on commentary.