Match Report: Ulster Rugby 29-8 Newport-Gwent Dragons

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Match Report: Ulster Rugby 29-8 Newport-Gwent Dragons

Post by ADM »

[tag=image] ... ogo-93.jpg[/tag][tag=content]Ulster started their season in perfect style with a 29-8 win over the Newport-Gwent Dragons at the Kingspan Stadium, with Ruan Pienaar in fantastic form only days after his departure from the province was announced.

Pienaar was imperious from scrum-half and scored a try in front of an excited home crowd, while debutant Rob Lyttle also had an excellent game on the wing, scoring two tries.

Lyttle's wing partner Jacob Stockdale also notched a great solo try of his own while Rob Herring rounded off the scoring with a try from a rolling maul late in the game.

Ulster were looking more impressive in the early exchanges, but it was the Dragons who took the lead in the 6th minute through MacLeod who stroked over a penalty from right in front of the posts.

It got even better for them five minutes later when they turned the ball over in midfield and MacLeod put the kick into the empty space behind the Ulster defence for winger Howard to race onto and score.

MacLeod missed the tricky conversion, but it gave the visitors a lead that nobody expected, but they probably did just deserve.

In contrast the hosts were looking dangerous, but they were finding it hard to make inroads through the Dragons' defence.

But that changed in the 21st minute when Pienaar cut through a gap and stabbed a grubber through for substitute Lyttle to chase and, after a mix up at the back from the visitors, eventually score.

It took them only five more minutes to take this lead, this time through opposite wing Stockdale who kicked the ball through and gathered himself before dotting down for the try.

Pienaar was wide with this conversion, but the hosts had the lead for the first time. However they did lose Craig Gilroy and Ross Kane to injury in the first half.

In fact it could have been even better had Peter Browne not ignored an overlap on his outside after Pienaar took a quick tap penalty just before half time, but the lock spurned the chance by electing to go himself.

After the break, it took just four minutes for the Ulstermen to extend their lead, and of course it was the man of the night who had to get it.

The Springbok had narrowly missed charging MacLeod down only moments before, but was more successful on his second attempt, blocking the fly-half's slow clearance kick and gathering to score, drawing the loudest cheer of the night.

He couldn't convert, but on a night where the game wasn't much of a contest it wasn't the biggest concern as Ulster then made sure they secured their bonus point that they deserved.

It was the outstanding Lyttle who guaranteed that Ulster would start the season with a bang as he finished off in the corner with aplomb just after the hour mark, leaping around the flag at the corner and dotting down for his second score of the night.

It was a convincing second half performance from the Ulstermen, who put the icing on the cake through a fifth try from a rolling maul, credited to Rob Herring, as they started their season with a big win.

The scorers

For Ulster
Tries: Lyttle (2), Stockdale, Pienaar, Herring
Cons: Pienaar (2)

For Dragons
Try: Howard
Pen: MacLeod

(15-9) Charles Piutau (Paul Marshall 73), Craig Gilroy (Robert Lyttle 15), Stuart Olding, Stuart McCloskey (Sam Windsor 60), Jacob Stockdale, Brett Herron, Ruan Pienaar; (1-8) Callum Black (Kyle McCall 50), Rob Herring, Ross Kane (Andrew Warwick 58), Peter Browne (Alan O'Connor 55), Franco van der Merwe, Clive Ross, Sean Reidy (John Andrew 73), Roger Wilson (Robbie Diack 55).

(15-9) Carl Meyer, Adam Warren, Sam Beard (Tyler Morgan 35), Jack Dixon, Pat Howard, Nick MacLeod (Angus O'Brien 73), Sarel Pretorius (Charlie Davies 66); (1-8) Sam Hobbs (Thomas Davies 46), T Rhys Thomas (Rhys Buckley 66), Craig Mitchell (Lloyd Fairbrother 30), Cory Hill, Rynard Landman (Nick Crosswell 40), Ollie Griffiths (Lewis Evans 22), Nic Cudd, Ed Jackson.

Man of the Match: Ruan Pienaar (Ulster)
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)[/tag]
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