An impressive second-half performance saw Ulster A side recover from a 21-12 halftime deficit to ultimately emerge victorious over their Leinster counterparts at Energia Park on Saturday afternoon.
Picture and report credit – JC Sports Photography
Trailing 10-0 in the early stages, Ulster pulled one back after 10 mins with a powerful burst for the line from number 8 Azur Allison with the conversion drifting just wide.
Leinster extended their lead to 13-5 before Ulster won a welcome scrum penalty on 20 mins but were unable to find touch from the resulting kick, a recurring problem which seriously hampered the visitor’s attacking efforts in the first half.
Ulster’s second try came on the half-hour as captain David McCann went over to make it 13-12 for the home side but Leinster were quick to reply with a fine score of their own as their right winger fielded a lovely cross-field kick and rounded the visitor’s defence.
The conversion from the right touchline came back off the posts to leave it at 18-12 and a further Leinster penalty for not releasing, on the stroke of halftime, would see us turn around at 21-12 with the home side looking the more likely.
A half-time downpour didn’t bode well for the remainder of the game and handling did become problematic for both sides in a second half which would be very much Ulster’s in terms of both territory and possession.
Tighthead Peter Cooper powered his way over on the hour to make it 21-19 after Ulster had been held up over the line on several occasions.
Leinster’s only score of the second half a penalty which pushed them back out to a 24-19 lead.
With the home side reduced to 14 men on 70 mins, following the sin-binning of their reserve scrumhalf, Ulster’s relentless pressure finally prevailed as the forwards powered over on 75 mins for their fourth try to level the score at 24-24.
Bruce Houston showed nerves of steel to nail the conversion from the left-hand touchline, under considerable pressure of a charge-down and Ulster were able to withstand one last throw of the dice from the home side before the referee called time and the visitors were able to celebrate a deserved win.
Ulster A: Connor Rankin, Ethan McIlroy, Hayden Hyde, Bruce Houston, Ben McCaughey, Greg Huntley, Graham Curtis, Paul Mullan Clayton Milligan, Peter Cooper, Connor McMenamen, Bradley Luney, JJ McKee, David McCann (c), Azur Allison. Replacements: Bryn Davis, Callum Reid, Oscar Egan, Matthew Agnew Adam Keed, Lewis Finlay, Rex Tinsley, Michael Stronge.