Edinburgh battle to impressive win in Belfast
An impressive second-half performance from Edinburgh brought them a thoroughly deserved 27-24 win over Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium – their first in Belfast since 2018.
Strong showings from skipper Jamie Ritchie and Ben Healy, the Edinburgh fly-half kicking 12 points, brought the visitors the result with tries scored by skipper Ben Vellacott, Pierre Schoeman and Robin Hislop.
Ulster managed to take two points from their second successive loss to Scottish opposition thanks to James Hume’s injury-time try.
Tom Stewart scored two tries for Ulster, with Robert Baloucoune also touching down before Hume’s late score.
Ulster opened the scoring after five minutes when Stewart smashed over and through Vellacott after peeling off a maul. John Cooney converted to put Ulster 7-0 in front.
They came close to increasing their lead five minutes later after Baloucoune’s take of a high ball, but Nick Timoney was felled by Wes Goosen close to the line ahead of Ritchie’s breakdown steal.
Then following a scrum penalty against Ulster, Healy landed a long-range penalty to cut the led to four points.
On 24 minutes, Edinburgh launched a dynamic attack off a penalty which resulted in skipper Vellacott reaching over the Ulster line after good approach work by Schoeman and Jamie Hodgson. Healy converted and the capital side now led 10-7.
The half ended when Edinburgh secured a penalty following a lineout turnover, Healy slotting the straightforward chance from the tee to put the visitors back in front at the break by 13-12.
Hume then got over the line after a huge amount of Ulster pressure, but the score was ruled out after Baloucoune was adjudged to have juggled the ball forward.
After absorbing a huge period of Ulster pressure, Edinburgh lifted the siege and when visiting the home team’s 22, Schoeman drove over from close range after some close-in drives. Healy converted and Edinburgh now led 20-12.
Their lead could have been increased when James Lang got over in the corner only for the score to be ruled out due to a foot in touch.
But the visitors came again and after a sweeping move up the middle with the ball spread left and right, replacement Hislop surged over, again from close range. Healy converted and Edinburgh now led 27-12.
Ulster had to respond and did so with just seven minutes left when Stewart put Baloucoune over, but Doak was unable to convert.
Ulster were then reduced to 14 when Ben Moxham was stretchered off – there were no subs left to bring on – but then so were Edinburgh when Harry Patterson was shown yellow in the 77th minute.
Hume struck with the last play to earn Ulster two points – a try bonus and narrow defeat – the final act being Doak’s conversion.
BKT United Rugby Championship Play of the Match
Robin Hislop’s 69th-minute try turned the game Edinburgh’s way. The visitors worked the ball upfield through the middle before moving it left and then out to the right wing where former Ulster player Adam McBurney was held up just short. Bill Mata then surged on and from his drive, Hislop collected and barrelled over.
Player of the Match
Edinburgh skipper Jamie Ritchie had an outstanding game and caused issues for Ulster throughout the contest. He was a powerhouse at the breakdown where Ulster were unable to compete with the Scotland international’s presence. He was an inspiration for the visitors and spearheaded their game winning effort.