Pro12 report Ulster maintain pace at summit with bonus point in Connacht

first_imgULSTER TIGHTENED THEIR grip on top spot of the RaboDirect Pro12 with an impressive 34-18 win over Connacht in Galway.With five tries on the board, the additional five points ensured that Glasgow Warriors remain four points behind the northern province after they too won out against the Ospreys in Scotstoun20-year-old centre Stuart Olding, Andrew Trimble, Rory Best, Tommy Bowe and Jared Payne all crossed the whitewash for Ulster with Ruan Pienaar adding nine points with the boot.The provinces shared five tries in a frenetic first half played in ideal conditions in The Sportsground.The Westerners got off to a flier in front of their vibrant support, George Naupo finding himself in acres of space from a Kieran Marmion pass after Pienaar was caught defending the open side.But by the 12th minute,  Connacht found themselves 5-12 down as Ulster showed their table-topping class to retake the lead with almost every back getting a hand on the ball thanks to Darren Cave’s break and pass. Trimble and Jared Payne ensured the flow continued to be fast and the Kiwi put Olding on a line in under the posts.Within minutes, Trimble had shown his pace and power to plunder a score in the right hand corner. But the see-saw flipped back against him when he shot up to hit Vainikolo with the ball, but failed to get a hand on the Tongan wing and he made his way to the line.Scoreless12-12 turned to 15-15 after Pienaar and Dan Parks had added their penalty prowess to the spectacle, but eight minutes before the break Best’s try gave the Springbok the platform to stretch the lead out to seven points.15-22 was how it stayed through half-time and only a Miah Nikora penalty had the scoreboard ticking in the 39 minutes between Ulster scores.Half a game without a score looked extremely improbable after a wide open first half. But Mark Anscombe had clearly sent his side out to quieten the game down in the second period and the did just that. Lewis Stevenson’s shadow claims a line-out. ©INPHO/James CrombieThe job was only fully complete with the bonus point and Bowe furthered his Lions case with the 71st minute score three minutes before Payne took Ulster over the 30 mark.The result leaves Leinster need a win away to Zebre to prevent Ulster sealing a home semi-final this weekend. Anscombe’s men finish the regular season at home to the Cardiff Blues on 3 May.Connacht, still with two games left to play under Eric Elwood, remain ninth in the table.Pro12 report: Munster fall to Dragons in WalesBrian O’Driscoll thinks Henry Shefflin is Ireland’s greatest ever athletelast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *