Match Report: Ulster Rugby 7-9 Munster Rugby

Louis Ludik

Louis Ludik scored Ulster’s try

Ulster suffered their first home defeat in the Guinness PRO12 since May 2014 as they went down 9-7 to interprovincial rivals Munster at the Kingspan Stadium.

It was a sloppy game with neither team near their best, but it was Munster who won it through three penalties from fly-half Ian Keatley who was flawless off the tee and looked back to his best.

Ulster led at half-time through a Louis Ludik try however Paddy Jackson missed two penalties near the end of the game to take the win and it means Ulster fall behind their opponents in the table.

The visitors made it clear early on that they had come to play rugby and they began with plenty of moves that dragged their hosts from side to side with Keatley able to capitalise on their dominance with an early penalty.

Tempers then flared as Ulster went on the attack from the restart with the usually calm Ruan Pienaar taking offence to something that happened on the floor, however nothing was evident on the replays.

Ulster were living dangerously though, and they were lucky not to concede a try soon after when a planned move didn’t go to hand and Rory Scannell picked up the ball. But for milestone man Trimble’s sprint back, the young centre would have been in.

Instead it was Ulster who battled tirelessly on the Munster line for a long period and eventually found the breakthrough that yielded the opening try of the game.

Munster’s defence held out valiantly but after what seemed like ages a gap big enough for Louis Ludik opened up and the full-back slid over for the score.

It looked like there was a knock on in the build-up but the try was awarded regardless and Jackson added the extras to give Ulster a 7-3 lead.

It could have been even better for Ulster as they continued to batter away as the half wore on with Andrew Trimble just metres away from gathering a Stuart McCloskey stab kick through, but the visiting defence held firm for the rest of the half.

Perhaps it was the persistent rain or perhaps both teams were simply tiring from such a physical encounter but neither side was able to string any sort of attack together with errors managing to ruin any sort of exciting play.

In fact it took until the 57th minute for something significant to actually happen in the second period as Munster won an Ulster scrum against the head and Keatley took advantage by slotting over a drop goal.

It took Munster just three minutes to then take the lead after Ulster were penalised at a maul and Keatley put the penalty through the posts to put Munster 9-7 up with 20 minutes to play.

Ulster meanwhile were living off scraps, but they weren’t out of the game and they had a chance to retake the lead only for Jackson to see a penalty rebound back off the crossbar.

From there Munster played the game out expertly, dominating possession and territory as they looked to hold on for a valuable four points that would snap their five game losing streak.

However they handed one last chance to Jackson to snatch the win through a last minute penalty but the young out-half’s kick fell short again, as did Ulster.

 

The scorers

For Ulster

Try: Ludik

Con: Jackson

For Munster

Pens: Keatley (2)

DG: Keatley

 

ULSTER RUGBY

(15-9) Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall (Sam Arnold 54), Stuart McCloskey, Rory Scholes, Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar (Paul Marshall 71); (1-8) Kyle McCall (Callum Black 64), Rory Best, Wiehahn Herbst (Ricky Lutton 35), Lewis Stevenson (Alan O’Connor 52), Franco van der Merwe, Robbie Diack (Roger Wilson 52), Chris Henry, Nick Williams (Rob Herring 71).

Sub not used: Ian Humphreys.

MUNSTER RUGBY

(15-9) Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Gerhard van den Heever, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell (Denis Hurley 57), Ronan O’Mahony, Ian Keatley, Tomas O’Leary (Duncan Williams 57); (1-8) Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry (Niall Scannell 56), BJ Botha (John Ryan 71), Billy Holland, Mark Chisholm, Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell (Robin Copeland 56), CJ Stander.

Subs not used: Mario Sagario, Shane Buckley, Tyler Bleyendaal.

 

Referee: Gary Conway (IRFU)