Last time the two coaches, Matt Williams and Andy Robinson, met was at Murrayfield in the 2004 Calcutta Cup when Robinson's England defeated Williams Scotland, but buoyed by last weekend's victory, Williams will have backed his Ulster side going into this Magners League match. With just one point separating the two sides in the League table, this match represented a real opportunity to make up some ground and leap-frog their oposition.
However, Ulster looked out of sorts and were rocked by Edinburgh in the opening period of the match, down 10 - 0 after just eight minutes. Edinburgh's points came courtesy of a Phil Godman penalty, after Matt McCullough was caught off-side, and a converted try scored by Hugo Southwell, which originated from the quick thinking of scrum-half and captain Mike Blair taking a quick line-out deep in his own half and a super break by Andrew Turnbull.
Ulster started their scoreboard ticking over on 8 minutes with an Ian Humphreys penalty after Edinburgh openside and debutant Roddy Grant was caught offside but four minutes later Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris was perhaps harshly penalised at the ruck by the Welsh referee and Godman took full advantage for his easy opportunity right in front of the posts. Edinburgh 13 - 3 Ulster
Mark McCrea will prefer to forget the fumble from Mike Blair's kick which gave Edinburgh their second try on 17 minutes after the ball was scooped up and Roddy Grant's pass sent second row Jim Hamilton over the line into empty space. Godman couldn't make the conversion count and a few minutes later Ian Humphreys, the victim of a late tackle by Grant, narrowed the gap with a penalty. Edinburgh 18 - 6 Ulster.
Humphreys kept the Ulster scoreboard ticking over, and his side in the game with a third successful penalty effort on 27 minutes after Edinburgh were penalised for playing the ball on the ground but Edinburgh continued to threaten the Ulster line until the half-time whistle.
Half-time: Edinburgh 18 - 9 Ulster
The Ulster supporters watching the match on television or listening to it on the radio will have been hoping that the half-time team talk would have the Ulster team, but despite what appeared to be a little more possession in the second half ,Ulster just couldn't find the try-line in a stop-start second half which was ruined by ill-discipline.
The two out-halves exchanged penalties early in the second period. Humphreys first narrowed the gap, slotting over his fourth successful penalty after Edinburgh lock Craig Hamilton was pinged for not rolling away at the ruck but on 10 minutes later Ulster captain Rory Best was penalised for the same offence. Edinburgh 21 - 12 Ulster
Ulster completely re-shuffled their back line during the second half with Humphreys (rep by Steinmetz), Cave (rep by Cunningham) and Boss (rep by Marshall) replaced. Full-back Schifcoske moved to the wing, Trimble into the centre to partner Steinmetz, Wallace to out-half, Cunningham came in at full-back and only winger McCrea was in the same position as he started the match.
Paddy Wallace assumed place kicking duties for Ulster after Humphreys retired and missed an attempt on 74 minutes from the half-way line, though his effort in the closing stages of the match ensured Ulster salvaged a bonus point from the trip.
Final Score: Edinurgh 21 - 15 Ulster
Ulster will re-group and next week are back at their Ravenhill HQ to take on Harlequins in the penultimate round of Heineken Cup action on Saturday (1.35pm kick off). To purchase tickets, please click here
|Edinburgh Rugby Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|