Friday, 30 December 2011

Ulster Score Emphatic Ravenhill Win

Ravenhill witnessed a comprehensive display by Ulster that yielded an emphatic victory, together with a bonus point, as Munster floundered in this RaboDirect Pro12 clash.

Ian Humphreys ended the night scoring 15 of the home side's points - from a try, two conversions and two penalties.

His effort supplemented first half tries form Stefan Terblanche and John Afoa, with the scoring being completed by Ruan Pienaar.

Ulster opened the scoring with a Humphreys penalty on six minutes after Munster were caught offside after chasing up an Ian Keatley up and under.

But it was the visitors who crossed the line first after some muscular work from Stephen Archer, Mick O'Driscoll and Ian Nagle saw the ball delivered to Keatley, whose cross-kick to the unmarked Luke O'Dea saw the young winger make it in at the right corner.

Referee Alain Rolland went upstairs to the TMO but the try was awarded and Keatley then nailed a great conversion to give Munster a 7-3 lead after only 13 minutes.

Seven minutes later and a Humphreys penalty narrowed Munster's lead to a single point before a great Darren Cave break put Terblanche into space and the former Springbok winger, on his first starting appearance for Ulster since arriving as a temporary replacement for the injured Jared Payne, slid in at the left corner.

Humphreys added a great conversion and Ulster led 13-7 after 25 minutes. A penalty which came in off the upright from Keatley narrowed Ulster's lead but he was then wide with a 34th minute effort.

Ulster struck next when Terblanche broke into Munster's half and a great handling movement saw him pop up again from Paddy McCallister's pass and though the veteran South African was held, the ball was recycled and All Black World Cup winner Afoa crashed over.

Humphreys' conversion made it 20-10 to the home side, which is how the half finished.

Four minutes after the restart and Ulster struck again - this time after Munster had won a free-kick from a lineout and opted for the scrum. Ulster put in a huge shove and Willie Faloon emptied Duncan Williams which saw the ball go loose.

Humphreys then hacked it through and managed to follow it up to score to the right of the posts from just outside the 22. However, the outside-half then missed the conversion and Ulster led 25-10.

Humphreys then saw a 49th-minute penalty rebound off the post and stay out, however Ulster grabbed their bonus point score five minutes later.

The try again came from a disrupted scrum with Chris Henry this time burying Williams to allow Ruan Pienaar to pick up and run in from just inside the Munster half.

Humphreys missed the difficult conversion from the left corner but Ulster led 30-10.

The game then lost a bit of pattern as both sides began to empty their benches, although a worrying sign for Ulster was Paddy McCallister being helped from the field just after the hour mark.

Humphreys was also removed from the action just before the 70-minute mark, which saw Pienaar move to outside-half just as he had done at Aironi.

The South African then took over the kicking duties and slotted a 74th-minute effort to stretch Ulster's lead to 33-10.

Munster's Johne Murphy crept over for a consolation score right at the death, which Keatley converted.