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Rugby News
15-02-08, 09:40 PM
Ulster are off the bottom of the Magners League after Matt Williams sees his team claim a 38-13 victory in his first game in charge.

Ulster led 7-6 at the break with Ryan Caldwell scoring a converted try while Ceri Sweeney kicked two penalties.

Dragons prop Adam Black was sent-off for violent conduct on 48 minutes.

Tries from Rory Best, Bryn Cunninghan, Issac Boss, Simon Danielli and Paddy Wallace sent Ulster clear with Phillip Dollman getting a late Dragons try.

Ulster full-back Mark Batholomeusz failed a fitness test just before kick-off and he was replaced in the line-up by Cunningham.

The Dragons made a strong start but they failed to get the try their pressure derserved.

The visitors had to settle for Sweeney's ninth minute penalty while Ulster almost scored a try with their first attack three minutes later.

Niall O'Connor touched down in the corner after an impressive move but his right foot had slipped into touch.

Ulster grew in confidence as the half progressed and Caldwell went over on 26 minutes after a superb break and lay-off from Tommy Bowe.

O'Connor added the conversion before pulling a 32nd minute penalty wide of the posts.

Sweeney also failed with a penalty attempt four minutes later but he split the posts in injury-time to reduce the gap to one point.

The Dragons suffered a massive blow on 48 minutes when prop Adam Black was sent-off for striking an Declan Fitzpatrick's face with his knee.

Ulster took seven minutes to capitalise with Best going over for a converted try in the corner from a line-out move.

The Welsh side were still dangerous and Richard Fussell surged through the middle and was held up just short of the line before Ulster cleared the danger.

An incisive move involving Bowe and Wallace ended with Cunningham sprinting over for Ulster's third try on 63 minutes.

Danielli dropped the ball as he was about to touch down seven minutes later but within seconds Boss darted through a gap to secure the bonus point with a converted try.

Danielli made amends for his blooper after 77 minutes by diving over from close-range although O'Connor failed with the conversion.

Wallace evaded two tackles to claim Ulster's final try in stoppage time with Kieron Dawson missing the conversion.

Dollman collected from a chip to score the Dragons' only try of the game deep in stoppage time with Sweeney adding the extra points.

The victory takes Ulster off the basement and a point clear of Irish rivals Connacht.

Ulster: B Cunningham; M McCrea, T Bowe, P Steinmetz, S Danielli; N O'Connor, I Boss (capt); B Young, N Brady, D Fitzpatrick, R Caldwell, J Harrison, N Best, K Dawson, S Ferris.
Replacements: R Best, J Fitzpatrick, C Del Fava, M McCullough, P Marshall, P Wallace.

Dragons: Martyn Thomas; Gareth Wyatt, Paul Emerick, Ashley Smith, Richard Fussell; Ceri Sweeney, Andy Williams; Adam Black, Ben Daly, Lee Harrison, Adam Jones, Peter Sidoli, Andy Hall, Richard Parks, Michael Owen (capt).Replacements: Steve Jones, James Corsi/Adam Brown, Gethin Robinson, James Harris, Phillip Dollman, Aled Thomas, Wayne Evans

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/r...ter/7248060.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/rugby_union/my_club/ulster/7248060.stm)

An Tarbh
16-02-08, 03:48 PM
So not surprising to see Williams get off to a decent start with Ulster, the red card may have helped but it was only a matter of time by all accounts.

There's no chance of them not finishing above Connacht and getting the last Heineken spot if that performance is anything to go by.

MunsterMan
16-02-08, 08:33 PM
I thought they were outstanding. The commentator even compared them to the french 7's team.

An Tarbh
16-02-08, 10:01 PM
That wouldn't have been Mark Robson and a tad of home bias now would it? :P

MunsterMan
16-02-08, 11:15 PM
Maybe :P

Tommy Bowe was excellent as was Reggie's Man of the Match Niall O'Connor. Niall has much more potential to be Ireland's first choice 10 than Paddy, and I think Paddy is better at 12 anyway so I think Niall should start at 10 as regularly as possible this season.

An Tarbh
16-02-08, 11:20 PM
Wallace has always looked a better option at 12 than he has at 10 that's for sure, can't see much international time for him there though despite Hook calls for him to have started there in Paris. We need someone with distribution skills in the centre cause lets face it that's not exactly BODs strong point.