Ulster played by far the more constructive rugby in the first half, but it was the hosts who earned the match's first scoring opportunity on five minutes with the award of a penalty. Paul Warwick's kick was pulled well wide, however, and Ulster seized the initiative straight from the restart, winning a penalty of their own three minutes later after Munster had deliberately slowed down play. Wallace proved to have quickly settled into his new role by slotting over the kick to open scoring at Munster 0 Ulster 3.
Better yet was to come three minutes later with an Ulster try straight from the training ground. Picking up in midfield, Seymour used his impressive pace and power to carve a path through the Munster defence, then picked out a pass to Faloon at precisely the right moment. The youngster rapidly fed his back-row colleague TJ Anderson, who palmed off all resistance and barged over to ground by the posts on his first appearance of the season. Wallace's conversion nudged the score up to Munster 0 Ulster 10 on 14 minutes.
Warwick wasted little time closing the gap with a 16th-minute penalty, but missed another chance five minutes later from a relatively elementary central position. An enterprising burst from Paul Marshall then took the diminutive scrum-half to within a few metres of the line, and, although Wallace picked up the pieces well to maintain the pressure, the out-half accidentally ran into Bryan Young and was pulled back for offside.
A Munster free ball after Best had delayed the put-in from a subsequent line-out handed possession back to the Limerick men, and with Faloon penalised for playing the ball while on the ground on the half-hour mark, Warwick's kicking showed a marked improvement as he reduced his side's deficit at Munster 6 Ulster 10.
Rather than simply aiming to protect their slender lead until half-time, Ulster showed ambition and enterprise in going forward as the clock ran down, with Luke Marshall in particular proving fleet-footed with an eye-catching surge which eventually came to nothing, when Faloon was adjudged to have strayed into touch as he picked up a subsequent pass. Then, with Munster collapsing a scrum just before the break, Wallace had a crack from just inside the hosts' half, but the kick proved to be out of his range. Nevertheless, Ulster ran off in the lead, and deservedly so.
Half-Time Score Munster 6 Ulster 10
The second period was a very different affair. Warwick wasted little time after the restart in clawing his side back to within a single point thanks to a 44th-minute penalty, and the home team then began to show some flair. This was rewarded on 52 minutes with a try in the corner from Denis Hurley, which Seymour was so very close to preventing when the final killer pass eluded his interception by mere millimetres. Warwick's conversion missed, but the Southern province was in front for the first time at Munster 14 Ulster 10.
With replacement forward Neil McComb sinbinned on the hour after repeated Ulster infringements, the visitors found themselves under intense pressure and only wonderful body positioning from Wallace prevented Denis Leamy from grounding the try as the Munster forwards pushed over the line from a close-range scrum. Five minutes of desperate scrummaging ensued, but Ulster showed great resolve and Munster were eventually penalised for an early engagement.
Ulster soaked up the subsequent pressure admirably, but were eventually undone with five minutes remaining when Tommy O'Donnell sneaked over the line and grounded amid a sea of flailing bodies. Warwick converted to set the score at Munster 21 Ulster 10.
Then, an inopportune stumble from Paul Marshall with two minutes to go compounded the Ulster misery, gifting the ball to Barry Murphy who was able to dribble as far as the line and touch down. Warwick's conversion sealed the result at Munster 28 Ulster 10.
And the bonus point was snatched by Lifeimi Mafi with a breakaway try well into injury time, converted again by Warwick.
Full-Time Score Munster 35 Ulster 10
(15 - 9) S Deasy; D Howlett, K Earls, S Tuitupou, Denis Hurley; P Warwick, P Stringer
(1 - 8) W Du Preez, D Varley, P Borlase, D Ryan, M O'Driscoll, B Holland, N Ronan, D Leamy (c)
Replacements (16 - 23) J Flannery, Darragh Hurley, T Buckley, P Butler, T O'Donnell, T O'Leary, L Mafi, B Murphy
(15 - 9) J Smith; T Seymour, I Whitten, L Marshall, S Danielli; P Wallace, P Marshall
(1 - 8) B Young, R Best (c), D Fitzpatrick, T Barker, R Caldwell, TJ Anderson, W Faloon, R Diack
Repalcements (16 - 23) A Kyriacou, T Court, BJ Botha, N McComb, C Henry, I Porter, P Jackson, D McIlwaine
|Munster Rugby Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|