Ulster ended 13 years of hurt on Saturday evening when they defeated Edinburgh 22-19 to reach the Heineken Cup final.
The boot of scrum half Ruain Pienaar proved to be the decisive factor with the scrum half kicking 15 of Ulster’s points in a kicking masterclass.
In a game which started at a helter skelter pace it was Pienaar that got the first score of the game with an excellent penalty after some great work by the Ulster pack led by captain Rory Best.
Edinburgh came to play and attacked Ulster in the opening exchanges. Lee Jones in particular stood out as the Scottish outfit looked to run the ball whenever the opportunity arose.
That attacking attitude paid off with fly half Greg Laidlaw kicking them level after 10 minutes.
The game continued at it’s relentless pace and it was Ulster that grabbed the first try of the game in the 14th minute.
A huge, powerful Ulster scrum gave the Irish province the platform and it was number 8 Pedrie Wannanburg that picked and drove from a few meters out and there was nothing that the Edinburgh defence could do to stop him crashing over the line and sending the 40,000 plus Ulster fans into raptures.
That clinical score from Ulster seemed to pour confidence into team and they continued to attack Edinburgh with the likes of Andrew Trimble, Craig Gilroy and Paddy Wallace all looking dangerous with ball in hand, along with Pienaar who kept the Ulster scoreboard ticking over, ruthlessly punishing any mistakes that Edinburgh made.
Edinburgh matched Ulster however and they had a major chance to make an impact on the game when Ulster’s fullback Stephen Terblanche was sinned binned midway through the first half for swinging a punch, which looked a soft call, at ruck time.
That ten minute period proved to be one of the most crucial as Ulster managed to hold Edinburgh scoreless while Terblanche was keeping warm on the sidelines and Ulster went in 13-9 up at the break.
The pace of the game refused to let up and five minutes after the restart Edinburgh brought the score to within one point with another beautifully taken penalty.
Ulster answered back with Pienaar leading the charge, sparking Ulster back
80 mins FULL TIME Ulster defeat Edinburgh here at the Aviva 22-19. Ulster are in the Heineken Cup final
80 mins TRY EDINBURGH. Jim Thompson gets a try for Edinburgh but it won’t matter a jot.
79 mins The clock ticks into the red and when the ball goes dead Ulster will be in the Heineken Cup final
77 mins Pienaar has been named Man of the match. No contest. Some performance
75 mins What a kick. Ulster lead by ten and look set to advance to the Heineken Cup final
74 mins Penalty to Ulster off the scrum on halfway. Pienaar lines it up and you feel that it could be the match winning kick
72 mins Ulster just need to play smart now. Risky offload from Gilroy almost put Edinburgh away
70 mins A tearful Lee Jones is replaced by Jim Thompson
69 mins Big hit by Craig Gilroy for Ulster on halfway. They are ten minutes away from a Heineken Cup final
67 mins Stephen Ferris was almost away for Ulster. They are playing so well at the moment.
66 mins Declan Fitzpatrick has been replaced by Adam Macklin for Ulster.
65 mins Huge turnover from Ulster on their own 22. The small breaks are going their way at the moment
63 mins Cool as can be,. Pienaar slots it over. Ulster lead 19-12
63 mins Ulster win another penalty. Pienaar to step up..
61 mins Into the last twenty we go. Still anyones game here
59 mins Like a bullet from a gun Pienaar makes no mistake. 16-12 Ulster
59 mins Pienaar has the chance to give Ulster a small buffer here with a penalty
58 mins Edinburgh make the first change. Roddy Grant in for Ross Rennie
57 minsEdinburgh hold out. That could be a huge moment come the end of the game
56 mins Ulster are SO close..
54 mins Another scrum. You feel Ulster have to score here
52 mins Held up. Inches away. Scrum Ulster and the Aviva is hopping
50 mins Ulster are inches away from the Edinburgh line. Can they get over..
49 mins Brilliant, just brilliant from Pienaar there. Scoops the ball off the scrum, kicks ahead and drags Edinburgh into touch. Quality from the no 9
46 mins Ulster almost away there. Andrew Trimble knocks on with only fresh air between him and the try line. A definite chance
45 mins Big kick and Laidlaw makes no mistake. One point game. 13-12 Ulster
44 mins Edinburgh continue to attack and win a penalty for their efforts. Laidlaw lines it up
41 mins Lovely break from Wallace for Ulster. Edinburgh do well and turn the ball over
41 mins We are underway here at the Aviva for the second half
40 mins Ladilaw says thank’s very much and knocks it over. Half time, Ulster lead 13-9
40 mins Silly from Stephen Ferris there. Slapping the ball from Mike Blair’s hand. Cheap penalty to give away.
38 mins Pienaar makes no mistake. Ulster lead 13-6
37 mins Ulster win a penalty well within Pienaar’s range. This would be a huge boost heading into halftime
33 mins Some beautiful hands from Edinburgh undone by crossing. Ulster need halftime
32 mins Ulster living on the edge on their own line. Piennar puts boot to ball and clears the lines. You fee Edinburgh have to get something before halftime
30 mins They are stopped yet again though by yet more great defence from Ulster. Big moment in the opening 40 you feel
29 mins Edinburgh look to press home this man advantage. They are up to Ulster’s line
28 mins It looked like Terblanche threw a punch at rucktime, and Poite confirms it, he had been binned for 10 mins
26 mins Knock on from Ulster on halfway. Edinburgh playing with the advantage
25 mins Piennar, like a thief in the night,robs Edinburgh of the ball inches from Ulster’s try line. Great defence from the no.9
24 mins Excellent defence there from Stephen Terblance there. Grounded the ball before Edinburgh could pounce on it. Scrum five to Edinburgh
24 mins Edinburgh continue to attack. Ulster need to be strong here
22 mins Nice hands from the Edinburgh backline. Up to Ulster’s 22
20 mins On Ulster come. But they are halted with Poite given a penalty to Edinburgh on their 22
18 mins Beautiful kick from Paddy Wallace there. Saw the space and chipped a lovely ball over the Edinburgh backline.
16 mins TRY ULSTER. They got the shove on and Pedrie Wannanburg pushes his way over to score the first try of the game
14 min Scrum to Ulster three yards from the Edinburgh line. Huge shove needed here
13 mins Ulster almost there..
13 mins Big chance for Ulster here. Scrum just inside the Edinburgh 22
11 mins It almost died but Laidlaw’s penalty had just enough legs. Edinburgh lead 6-3
10 mins Penalty awarded to Edinburgh just inside Ulster’s half. Ladilaw points to the sticks
8 mins Greg Laidlaw ties the game up with a well struck penalty. 3-3
7 mins Ulster have started much the better. Edinburgh have a chance to tie things up with a penalty. Should be straight forward
5 mins What a kick from Pienaar. Ulster lead 3-0
4 mins Huge scrum from Ulster wins them a penalty. Pienaar lines up a kick at goal
4 mins Knock on from Edinburgh after they did well to rob Ulster of the ball. First scrum of the day to Ulster
2 mins Edinburgh with a half break up the middle of the park comes to nothing. Both sides yet to really settle down
1 mins Nice fielding from Edinburgh in the opening minute or so. Both sides are pumped up for this one
0 mins Now THAT is a reception for both sides. Ulster will get us underway
0 mins Here come the two sides out to the Aviva
0 mins We are all set to go here at the Aviva. It should be a cracker of a game
Ulster: S Terblanche; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, D Fitzpatrick, J Muller [capt], D Tuohy, S Ferris, W Faloon, P Wannenburg
Replacements: N Brady, P McAllister, A Macklin, L Stevenson, R Diack, P Marshall, I Humphreys, A D’Arcy
Edinburgh: T Brown; L Jones, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw [capt], M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, G Gilchrist, S Cox, D Denton, R Rennie, N Talei
Replacements: A Kelly, K Traynor, J Gilding, S Turnbull, R Grant, C Leck, P Godman, J Thompson