Three second half tries from Alan O’Connor, Will Addison and Jacob Stockdale got Ulster off to a flying start against Leicester Tigers in a tough Heineken Champions Cup group.

The visitors led 3-0 in a dull game at the interval but controlled most of the possession and territory in the first half. From the off, Michael Lowry looked composed in the 15 jersey, barring dropping an early garryowen kick from George Ford. His break after 20 minutes resulted in a yellow card for Ford for a cynical high tackle.

Ford scored the only points in the first half on 14 minutes after Ulster conceded a second scrum penalty. Ulster conceded a couple of penalties early on but after the forced substitution of Ross Kane, Marty Moore provided some stability at scrum time.

After the yellow, Jonah Holmes denied Craig Gilroy a try and the sin binning period ended 0-0 as Ulster turned down two kicks at goal. Lost lineouts and knock ons frustrated Ulster in the first half which was a worry and if even just one of those chances was taken, a try bonus point would have been secured.

Barring the scrum which led to Leicester’s penalty, Tigers had one other attack in the half when Sione Kalamafoni brushed off a couple of Ulster tacklers. They recovered however, and Marcell Coetzee popped up with a crucial turnover.

The second half started with a bang for Ulster. Alan O’Connor crossed three minutes after the restart before Iain Henderson thought he’d scored the second try only for Pascal Gauzere to bring play back for a forward pass in the build up.

Fortunately Leicester kept coughing up possession in crucial areas for Ulster and kicks through put the away side on the back foot. Will Addison scored his side’s second try after a break from Sean Reidy in midfield. Quick ball was secured and the former Sale player slid over in the corner.

Cooney landed a penalty with 12 minutes to go, before Jacob Stockdale crossed on 73 minutes to give Ulster a crack at the bonus point in the final seven. The bonus point didn’t come but Manu Tuilagi crossed to give his side a shot at gaining a losing bonus point.

Ulster come out with a good win, however the intensity will be ramped up a notch ahead of a trip to Paris next week. Racing 92 looked good in their away win over Scarlets so any kind of match points would certainly be a decent result.

7.0 Performance

There weren't too many underperformers yesterday. John Cooney was awarded man of the match after another typical performance but credit also has to go to Marty Moore and Sean Reidy who made big impacts off the bench.
In the forwards, the second rows put in the usual workmanlike performance that we would expect while the back row lead from the front in terms of carrying and tackling.
Will Addison was my man of the match as he was exceptional in both defence and attack. Manu Tuilagi wasn't given a sniff barring his try in the last five minutes.
For making his first start in his second position, Michael Lowry was excellent and unfortunate to not score. I look for to seeing more of him in an Ulster jersey.

  • Andy Warwick 6
  • Rory Best 7
  • Ross Kane 6
  • Alan O'Connor 7
  • Iain Henderson 7
  • Marcell Coetzee 8
  • Jordi Murphy 7
  • Nick Timoney 7
  • John Cooney 8
  • Billy Burns 7
  • Jacob Stockdale 7
  • Stuart McCloskey 7
  • Will Addison 8
  • Craig Gilroy 6
  • Michael Lowry 8
  • Adam McBurney N/A
  • Eric O'Sullivan 6
  • Marty Moore 7
  • Kieran Treadwell 6
  • Sean Reidy 8
  • Dave Shanahan 6
  • Angus Curtis N/A
  • Angus Kernohan N/A
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0