Leinster put Ulster under pressure right from the outset. The visitors were penalised in the first minute of the game for slowing down the ball and the subsequent attack on the Ulster line almost resulted in a second minute try for the home side. Leinster won the 5m scrum which had to be re-set by referee Peter Fitzgibbon four or five times and one sensed that Ulster were close to conceding a penalty try with Declan Fitzpatrick under pressure from springbok prop Ollie le Roux. However, when Leinster No.8 Jamie Heaslip picked the ball up from the base of the scrum and made his break the Ulster defence kept Leinster out and the men in blue will feel aggrieved to come away with just the three points from a Felipe Contepomi penalty in the 9th minute in front of the posts
An injury to Ollie le Roux forced him to leave the pitch around the 15 minute mark and Ulster settled into the game, making their way into Leinster territory over the period of the next 10 minutes. However when the visitors were penalised for playing the ball on the ground, Felipe Contepomi bagged the three points for the penalty. Leinster 6 - 0 Ulster
Contepomi stretched Leinster's lead with another successful penalty effort just before the stroke of half-time while Ulster lost scrum half Isaac Boss to the bin when he was yellow-carded for not rolling away.
Half-time score: Leinster 9 - 0 Ulster
Paddy Wallace had an opportunity to open Ulster's scoring account with a penalty after Contepomi was penalised for batting the ball out of Boss' hands at the ruck, however his kick didn't have the distance and fell short of the posts.
Having begun the second half back to a full complement of 15 players with Isaac Boss back on the field Ulster's discipline let them down again and for the second game in a row they spent a quarter of the match with only 14 men after Neil Best was binned for tripping Jonathan Sexton. Contepomi kicked the penalty goal, Leinster 12 - 0 Ulster.
Ulster suffered a blow when they lost their captain Rory Best on 53 minutes - the hooker was stretchered off the pitch with what looked to be an injury to his right ankle and just a few minutes later Leinster put their first try on the scoreboard when replacement prop Cian Healy barged over the line for the score, converted by Contepomi, which started from a Leo Cullen steal at the line-out. Leinster 19 - 0 Ulster.
In the midst of a raft of substitutions from both sides, Ulster No.8 Matt McCullough was pinged for off-side on 63 minutes, right in front of the posts and Contepomi took full advantage with another successful kick, Leinster 22 - 0 Ulster.
Leinster's second try came just a few minutes later when No.8 Jamie Heaslip found a gap and raced in under the posts with the Ulster defence found lacking and the ever-reliable Contepomi added the extras. Leinster 29 - 0 Ulster.
Leinster ended the match much as they had begun with another assault on the Ulster line deep into injury time. There's no doubt that Ulster will be glad to see the back of 2007 - today's 29 point drubbing, with Steve William's men failing to score any points sealing a miserable end to the year for both players and supporters.
Next up for Ulster is another derby game against Munster at Ravenhill on Friday 4th January and as we wait for confirmation on the coaching appointment here's hoping that it's a new year, new start for Ulster.
Final Score: Leinster 29 - 0 Ulster
Post-match David Humphreys, who came on as a second half replacement, told Setanta;
"I think we'd be hard pressed to find any positives from today's match… the last few months have been pretty tough but from the Ulster point of view this is probably the lowest point"
"We had hoped to produce some sort of performance today and it just didn't happen and we know we were well beaten"
Leinster: G Dempsey, L Fitzgerald, B O'Driscoll (cpt), G D'Arcy/F Contepomi, R Kearney, F Contepomi/J Sexton, G Easterby; O le Roux, B Jackman, S Wright, L Cullen, M O'Kelly, S Jennings/S Keogh, S Jennings/K Gleeson, J Heaslip.
Replacements: B Blaney, C Healy/S Knoop, C Jowitt, C Keane, G Brown/C Warner.
Ulster: B Cunningham, T Bowe, A Trimble, P Steinmetz, S Danielli, P Wallace, I Boss; J Fitzpatrick, R Best (cpt), D Fitzpatrick, J Harrison, R Caldwell, N Best, K Dawson, M McCullough.
Replacements: B Young, N Brady, C Del Fava, G Webb, D Pollock, P Marshall, D Humphreys.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU),
|Leinster Rugby Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|