David Humphreys made his mark on Ulster's 2007/08 season as he returned to force scoring 11 of the 16 points that gave the Ulster side a draw with Leinster at Ravenhill.
In the first 15 minutes of play neither team managed to put any points on the scoreboard with both sides missing penalties in the opening minutes. Leinster dominated possession throughout the first half and the first points went on the board when a penalty was awarded for Ulster's indiscipline in the scrum. Leinster's Jonathan Sexton was on target to take the lead in the 18th minute. Ulster 0 v Leinster 3.
Leinster continued to drive forward with left-wing Rob Kearney almost touching down in 30th minute. Referee George Clancy consulted with the Television Match Official but no try was awarded. Sexton brought the score to 0-6 just before half time with a penalty kick.
Half time: Ulster 0- Leinster 6
Leinster wasted no time in the second half with Gordon D'Arcy touching down just 6 minutes into play, the try was converted by Sexton extending Leinster's lead to Ulster 0 v Leinster 13
David Humphreys replaced Paddy Wallace early in the second half and within a matter of minutes his long pass found Bryn Cunningham then Andrew Trimble who raced over the line to put Ulster on the scoreboard in the 54th minute. Humphreys converted to bring the score to Ulster 7 v Leinster 13. The Ulster faithful roared with delight and Ulster were still in the game. The players seemed to lift on the pitch and with the Ravenhill crowd belting out "Stand Up For the Ulsterman" the atmosphere was electric.
An Ulster penalty in the in the 65th minute saw Humphreys close the gap further and a drop goal from the fly half brought the two teams level and the crowd to their feet at Ravenhill. Ulster 13 v Leinster 13.
Ulster were penalised with 8 minutes left on the clock, Sexton kicked for the Leinster side to regain the lead. Both sides were on the attack as the match entered injury time, Ulster were awarded a late penalty and Humphreys who was on target all night kicked to bring the two sides level as the final whistle blew.
Final score :Ulster 16 v Leinster 16.
Assistant Ulster Coach Steve Williams said this of his sides late comeback, "Throughout the first half we let Leinster dictate the game, we didn't go at them or attack enough. Leinster took the majority of the possession so run back out at half time only 6-0 down was one positive aspect. You can't play rugby without a certain amount of aggression and it wasn't until the second half that we managed to produce that sort of play. In the second half we started to make contact and make the tackles more personal and we're a better side when we can make that happen. To turn it around from being 13-0 down and keep a positive attitude shows tremendous character from the team."
Ulster: B Cunningham; T Bowe, A Trimble, R Dewey, M McCrea; P Wallace, I Boss; J Fitzpatrick, R Best, B Young, C del Fava, R Caldwell, N Best, K Dawson, S Ferris.
Replacements: N Brady, D Fitzpatrick, J Harrison, R Wilson, P Marshall, D Humphreys, M Bartholomeusz.
Leinster: G Dempsey; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, capt, G D'Arcy, R Kearney; J Sexton, C Whitaker; O Le-Roux, B Jackman, S Knoop, L Cullen, M O'Kelly, S Keogh, S Jennings, J Heaslip.
Replacements: B Blaney, S Wright, D Toner, K Gleeson, C Willis, C Werner, L Fitzgerald.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU).
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|Ulster Rugby Score Card|
|Leinster Rugby Score Card|