Match Report – Ulster 27 – 22 Northampton

Goals from Rob Herring, Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy, plus a penalty try, saw Ulster claim victory and a bonus point for a try in Friday’s European challenge; Saints lost a bonus point when Alex Mitchell and Courtnall Skosan both crossed paths

Last updated: 17/12/21 22:35


Craig Gilroy of Ulster cheers for securing the bonus point for the try in the win over Northampton

Ulster survived a Northampton Saints last quarter comeback at Kingspan Stadium to claim two of two wins in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Leading 15 points as they approached the finish line, with goals from Rob Herring, Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy, they were nearly recovered as Alex Mitchell and Courtnall Skosan crossed for the Saints. But the English team’s last push was short as Ulster held the 27-22 triumph.

Ulster stunned Northampton with a try in the first two minutes. Michael Lowry performed Mitchell’s positioning kick deep into Saints territory, center Stuart McCloskey and prop Marty Moore had strong transports before the ball was flipped to James Hume’s side.

The Irish center broke into the defense and although he was stopped, Ulster quickly recycled the ball and hooker Herring charged from close range with scrum-half John Cooney adding the conversion.

The Saints responded with a George Furbank penalty five minutes later after Ulster flanker Marcus Rea broke the break.

But Ulster was awarded a try in the 16 ‘. They took a penalty in the corner and the forwards organized a maul and approached the line. Cooney turned the ball on the wing for Gilroy and Mitchell was judged for deliberately knocking and trying to intercept the ball, with the Saints scrum-half being booked and seven points awarded.

Furbank got his second penalty two minutes later, after Rea was punished for not releasing the tackle.

Courtney Lawes runs to the defense of Ulster on her return to the field for Northampton

Courtney Lawes runs to the defense of Ulster on her return to the field for Northampton

The third goal of Ulster comes at the end of the first quarter, with Hume the architect. The center-back shot was perfect for McIlroy and the 21-year-old winger dodged the last defender, showing speed and strength to cross the line on his second attempt.

Cooney missed the conversion and Ulster pulled out another penalty from the second half, allowing Furbank to score his third successful kick.

A quarter followed in the 30th minute when Ulster prop Andy Warwick was punished for freaking out, cutting the home side’s lead to 19-12 at half-time. Cooney took a penalty five minutes after recovery when Rea forced Fraser Dingwall into a mistake.

Ulster then scored half of the bonus points in the 58th minute after a couple of penalties Burns kicked in the corner. From the second lineout, the home team forwards drove before Cooney served Burns and the Irish opener pulled out a speculative kick that Saints goalkeeper Ahsee Tuala misjudged, with Gilroy pouncing to land. .

Player of the match Nick Timoney brings the ball forward for Ulster

Player of the match Nick Timoney brings the ball forward for Ulster

The Saints refused to throw in the towel and Mitchell sniped for an unconverted try two minutes later, and arranged a finish in the stands when the Skosan winger finished a passing move with two minutes left.

Furbank failed to convert, however, meaning a try was still needed and Courtney Lawes was penalized as Saints chased that last-minute winner.

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