Newport Gwent Dragons seized the opportunity to avenge last season’s 46-19 mauling at the hands of Ulster last night in a low scoring game which saw Lyn Jones’ first match as coach return a 15-8 victory.
The result could have been very different if it was not for Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson’s prolificacy from the kicking tee. In total the Belfast outhalf passed up on 8 points which could have made all the difference on the night. Ruan Pienaar’s, away on international duty with South Africa, accurate kicking was sorely missed.
Jason Tovey kicked two penalties in the first 15 minutes before Marc Wilson went over for Ulster in a training ground move when Ulster used their maul off a lineout that they opted for instead of kicking at goal. The standard of Paddy Jackson’s kicking pushed home just what a smart decision that was. Jackson missed the conversion and a penalty on 34 minutes meaning the teams went in at the break with the Dragons 2 points behind the Ulstermen.
Tovey scored 3 second half penalties in the second half and Ulster failed to trouble the scoreboard. With a couple of breakaway movements from Ulster failing to be converted into points, they found themselves camped on the home team’s try line as the match drew to an end but the Dragons resolve held out. Lyn Jones can be very pleased with their win against last season’s table toppers who had seven Irish internationals starting and 3 more on the bench and as for Ulster, well they can only improve.
Dragons – D Evans; T Prydie, P Leach, J Dixon, H Amos; J Tovey, R Rees; A Coundley (P Price 44), T R Thomas, D Way (F Chaparro 44); A Coombs (capt), M Screech (A Jones 54); J Groves (N Talei 54), N Cudd, L Evans.
Ulster – J Payne; A Trimble, L Marshall, C Farrell (D Cave 54), D McIlwaine; P Jackson (J McKinney 67), P Marshall (I Porter 67); C Black (T Court 60), R Herring, R Lutton (D Fitzpatrick 54); J Muller (capt), D Tuohy (L Stevenson 62); R Diack, C Henry (S Doyle 67), R Wilson.
REF – C Blessano (Italy)
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