Ulster U20s opened their season in style with a comfortable 67-14 win over Midlands in Coventry on Friday afternoon. Ulster started strongly and never looked back – it took just four minutes to register the first try and they went on to add another ten before the final whistle.
Fullback Rory Scholes was first to get on the scoreboard with a well taken try but he was unable to add the conversion. Peter Nelson, who was a constant threat in the centre, added two tries in quick succession, the first of which was a result of excellent play by Aaron Cairns. Scholes added one conversion to give his side a 17-0 lead.
The game was put to bed in the 34th minute when winger Andrew Morrison gathered a loose ball 70 metres and outsprinted the defence for a breakaway try.
Half time: Midland 0 – 22 Ulster
The Midlands rallied after the break and hit back with an early try. After some powerful play from their forwards, which included a strong scrum the ball was moved to midfield where the Ulster defence was breached.
Ulster replied soon after when Queen’s prop Jonathon Dixon powered over for his side’s fifth try in the 52nd minute. Replacement outhalf Stuart Olding made a great break two minutes later and Kyle McCall, not to be outdone by Dixon, his front row colleague, finished off the move. Olding added the extras to leave the score 34-7 in Ulster’s favour.
By now it was all one way as substitutes Rory Harrison, Kevin McClean and Roger Bonnar all adding tries. Olding landed two conversions to extend the score 53-7. In the last 10 minutes, Morrison and McClean both got on the score sheet for the second time, either side of a try from the Midlands. Olding converted both to bring the score to 14-67.
Team Manager Ronnie Duncan said after the game:
“The coaches are happy with the result and with how the team played in many passages of the game. It was obvious it was an early season fixture but there are plenty of positives and all in all we are very pleased.”
The Ulster U20 side face friendlies in the coming weeks against Ballymena, Banbridge and Ballynahinch, before the inter-pros start in September.