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Connacht v Ulster


An Tarbh

Ulster travel to the Sportsground looking to avenge their defeat of last season and see an upturn in form following their dissappointing performance in Cork where there illdiscipline got the better of them. Connacht could certainly do with a timely win only seeing them pick up 2 points out of 3 home games.

Kevin Maggs and Stephen Ferris have been brought into the starting lineup after Paul Steinmetz and Tommy Bowe both picked up injuries in the Munster match. Connacht make 2 changes from the team which lost to Leinster with Ray Ofisa and Keith Matthews replaceing Matt Lacey and Conor McPhillips.

Connacht: D Riordan, M Mostyn, D Yapp, G Williams, K Matthews, M McHugh, C Keane; B Wilkinson, J Fogarty, R Hogan, D Gannon, A Farley, J Muldoon, R Ofisa, C Rogney.
Replacements: A Flavin, B Sturgess, M Swift, M Lacey, T Tierney, P Warwick, T Robinson.

Ulster: B Cunningham, A Maxwell, K Maggs, P Wallace, A Trimble, D Humphreys, I Boss; J Fitxpatrick, R Best, B Young, J Harrison, M McCullough, N Best, S Ferris, R Wilson.
Replacements: P Shields, D Fitzpatrick, T Barker, K Dawson, N McMillan, K Campbell, S Young.

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU).
Match Report from RTÉ Sport

Ulster climbed back to the top of the Magners League table as they shared out five tries in a 24-17 victory over their provincial rivals Connacht at the Sportsground.

The league champions ventured west seeking revenge for last season's 22-12 defeat at the hands of Connacht, and they looked like getting it when they moved into a 24-0 lead.

Tries from Roger Wilson, Isaac Boss and Bryn Cunningham had the visitors in sight of a bonus point win but a showy late cameo from Australian Paul Warwick, who grabbed a try, two conversions and an injury-time penalty kick, which he thumped over from halfway, salvaged a point for the home side.

Backed by a forceful wind, Ulster dominated possession and territory in the first half, yet they failed to make it pay on the scoreboard.

Five times they were held up close to the Connacht line as number eight Wilson and Ireland winger Andrew Trimble pierced their way through the hosts' defence.

After a flurry of penalties, Connacht lost number eight Colm Rigney to the sin-bin on the half-hour mark, for killing the ball, and Wilson took a pop pass off the resulting scrum to barge over and score.

David Humphreys converted and after Connacht's eighth penalty concession of the half, the former Ireland fly-half arrowed over a late penalty for a 10-0 interval lead.

Ulster's second try came again after Connacht had gone down to 14 men - number 10 Mark McHugh was the offender this time for slowing up ball.

Bulky flanker Stephen Ferris made the initial break for Boss' 56th-minute try, with deft hands from Kevin Maggs putting the New Zealand-born scrum-half over in the left corner.

Humphreys' conversion was stunningly accurate, as was Paddy Wallace's after Cunningham, on a long jaunt from full-back, had cut through for Ulster's third touchdown.

By that time Connacht had lost their third player to the sin-bin as replacement Ted Robinson was rightly carded for a spear tackle on Humphreys.

But the westerners' late revival, with both Warwick and full-back Matt Mostyn weaving through for tries, still netted them a scarcely deserved bonus point.[/b]

The scores were only barely trickling through from this one during the Leinster match but fair f***s to Connacht for getting a bp after being 17-0 down, Ulster though would certainly have taken that after losing the corresponding fixture last season.

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