Tuesday 24 April 2018

Andrews is Ulster's late, late hero

Connacht’s Eoghan Masterson. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
Connacht’s Eoghan Masterson. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

John Andrew emerged as the unlikely hero for Ulster to overturn The Scarlets 27-20 at the Kingspan Stadium last night.

The champions started out by winning their first two games, in contrast to losing their first three last season.

The new format of the PRO14 League places even greater significance on winning the home matches.

Early on, it all went to plan for The Scarlets as full-back Leigh Halfpenny notched three points in the third minute.

From there, it was pressure from Ulster and counter-punching for the Welsh until John Cooney struck for three in the 19th minute.

Centre Hadleigh Parkes and flanker John Barclay saved The Scarlets bacon until Cooney split the posts in the 32nd and 34th minutes for 9-3 at the break.

Scrum-half Cooney slotted three and Halfpenny answered for 12-6 in the 58th minute.

Parkes and Rhys Patchell combined to send Johnny McNicholl through for Halfpenny to convert for the lead.

The power of Stuart McCloskey and the support of Seán Reidy set Jacob Stockdale up for a fine try.

This was wiped out by Jonathan Davies try and Halfpenny's extras. Christian Lealiifano tied it up with a penalty in the 72nd minute before replacement hooker Andrew's try and Lealiifano's conversion did the trick.

Connacht fell to disappointing 21-8 defeat at The Dragons.

They were victims of tries from Hallam Amos and Eliott Dee before Quinn Roux's second-half try made a game of it.

Meanwhile, Treviso picked up a rare win on the road, with Dubliner Ian McKinley kicking 10 points in their 20-17 victory at Edinburgh.

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