Ulster keep play off hopes alive

Updated: March 24, 2012

Treviso 23 – 27 Ulster

Ulster kept their playoff hopes alive with a narrow four point win over Treviso in Italy today.

Trailing 23-20 with the final whistle looming, Brian McLaughlin’s men secured the four points thanks to Ian Whitten’s 80th minute converted try.

Enrico Ceccato opened the scoring for Treviso before Chris Henry levelled matters for the visitors. With Ruan Pienaar and Kris Burton enjoyed similar days with the boot scoring 1 2 and 13 points respectively, try’s were proving crucial and when Alberto di Bernardo crossed in the 69th minute it looked as if the home side would claim another memorable scalp.

However with the clock ticking down Whitten scored with the last play of the game to move Ulster to within a point of fourth place Glasgow.

“Treviso put us under a lot of pressure this afternoon, it was a far from perfect performance but I thought that we showed tremendous character to pull back and get the away win against a side that was full of Italian internationals.

We put them under a fair bit of pressure in the first five minutes but then we turned the ball over the ball which they hacked down the pitch to score a fairly soft try and put us 7-0 down at the start.

Treviso threw everything at us today and in the first half our scrum was under a little bit of pressure but we sorted that in the second half and we scrummed well.

Paddy Wallace scored a magnificent try around the 70 minute mark to put us right back into the mix and bring us from 23-13 down right up to 23-20 once Ruan added the conversion and thankfully there was enough time on the clock for Ian Whitten’s score in the 82nd minute which Ruan converted from the touchline.

It was by no means a top class performance but we showed a lot of self belief to get the win and one we so badly needed to keep us in contention for a play-off spot in the PRO12. This win keeps our destiny, as far as a play-off spot is concerned, in our own hands. The competition is so tight.

The Ospreys result at the RDS against Leinster last night really keeps them in contention and there’s just a few points, if even separating us from Glasgow, Cardiff, and Scarlets. We all have everything still to play for so its going to be a very exciting run-in.”

Both Darren Cave and Johann Muller who were making their first appearances following injury were substituted in the second half due to injury but McLaughlin does not seem overly concerned at this stage;

“Darren took a knock on the nose and Johann got a bang to his throat and a bit of a dead leg. Both will be assessed tonight and tomorrow.”

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