Thursday 21 March 2019

Anscombe's reign gets off to winning start

New Ulster coach Mark Anscombe enjoyed the perfect start to his tenure as tries from wingers Michael Allen and Craig Gilroy brought his side an opening PRO12 League win by 18-10 at Ravenhill.

Anscombe's youthful selection -- the coach was missing a raft of frontline players -- showed great maturity to see off a much more experienced Scottish side.

Ulster were always the hungrier outfit and big performances from Nick Williams and John Afoa along with youngsters Allen and Luke Marshall helped bag them the four points.

The winning margin would have been greater had Niall O'Connor been more accurate from the tee.

After an opening 10 minutes in which neither side made much impression, Ulster opened their account with an O'Connor penalty via the former Connacht player's first touch after he replaced the injured Paddy Jackson.

The Warriors, though, evened matters up 10 minutes later with a Duncan Weir penalty.

Ulster responded through their pack and one driving maul for the Warriors' line resulted in Glasgow winger -- and former Ulster player -- Tommy Seymour being sin-binned for dragging the maul down.


The net result was a series of scrums near Glasgow's line which eventually saw Williams drive off the base and link with Stevenson. Jared Payne's skip pass then put Allen in at Seymour's corner for a score O'Connor couldn't convert.

Ulster ended the first half 8-3 up.

They started the second in perfect fashion when Craig Gilroy intercepted Weir's pass and ran all the way in under the posts from just outside his own 22, with O'Connor this time making no mistake to put Ulster 15-3 to the good.

The Warriors fought back via Jackson, who worked Seymour clear, with the winger rounding two defenders to score. Jackson added the conversion to make it 15-10. It was all in vain, though, as O'Connor sealed Ulster's win with a last-minute penalty.

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