Saints avenge drubbing and end Ulster's run

Ulster 9 Northampton Saints 10

ravenhill

Saints' coach Jim Mallinder said a burning desire to make amends for last week's drubbing in their own backyard was the primary reason for them ending Ulster's winning run here last night.

Mallinder was thrilled that his men restored pride after Ulster plundered five points from Franklin's Gardens last week. "We really wanted to make amends for last week. We got quick ball this time and that helped us greatly," he said.

Ruan Pienaar had a chance with a late penalty from the right to snatch victory for the home side but he was off target as Ulster's 13-match winning run since the start of the season came to an unlikely halt.

Their coach Mark Anscombe feared Ulster's form was dipping in their last three RaboDirect Pro12 games but was hopeful that they had put that behind them last week.

Northampton set out their stall early but while they dominated the opening moments, a possession statistic of 80 per cent after 10 minutes still only yielded a 3-0 lead.

And that came from an Ulster mistake when Northampton piled on the pressure after an overthrow from Rory Best but they had to settle for a penalty from Stephen Myler after the home defence held firm.

However, Northampton continued to dictate and got their reward after 18 minutes, working the ball through hands from the left inside the 22 for Ken Pisi to set up his No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze and the South African fended off Andrew Trimble, who went too high in the tackle, to dive over.

Myler landed the touchline conversion to make it 10-0 and the Ulster fans were in no doubt that their winning run was under serious threat.

Northampton lost Van Velze after 26 minutes to a head injury picked up scoring the try, paving the way for Courtney Lawes. Ulster struggled to get forward ball but while their scrum began to get on top, they were guilty of poor handling, Jared Payne and Trimble failing to hold on to the ball.

Nick Williams's influence on Ulster this season has been superb and while he produced a few typically barging runs up the middle, it was his interception of a weak Myler chip in midfield which helped get Ulster off the mark.

Williams only had Rory Best in support and Saints scrambled to deal with the initial danger but continued pressure produced a penalty which Paddy Jackson slotted to make it 10-3 after half an hour. Jackson missed another from 25 metres four minutes later as Ulster finally started to kick into gear. But Jackson made no mistake two minutes later from 30 metres to make it 10-6 at the break.

Jackson gave Ulster a further boost two minutes after the restart after Tommy Bowe retained possession in the tackle, and kept a promising move alive before Saints infringed and the Ulster out-half made it 10-9.

Northampton responded to the challenge superbly and had plenty of possession in the danger zone but Myler often opted to kick when they might have been better served to keep the ball in hand.

Pienaar tried to put Ulster in front for the first time but a penalty from inside his own half landed just short after 58 minutes.

But then three minutes from time Ulster got a chance when a break from Bowe yielded a penalty on the right. Bowe was forced to go off with serious knee ligament damage and after the delay, Pienaar lined up the kick from the right touchline but narrowly missed and Northampton claimed an unlikely, but deserved, victory.

"We created enough chances to win it, but we didn't have the composure to take the scores," said Ulster's coach Mark Anscombe.

Ulster J Payne; T Bowe (N McComb, 77), D Cave, P Wallace (L Marshall, 68), A Trimble (C Gilroy, 56); P Jackson (P Marshall, 62), R Pienaar; T Court (C Black, 68), R Best, J Afoa; I Henderson, D Tuohy (R Lutton, 79); N Williams (R Diack, 71), C Henry, R Wilson.

Northampton Saints B Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, T May, J Elliott; S Myler, L Dickson; S Tonga'uiha (A Waller, 63), M Haywood, P Doran-Jones (B Mujati, 54); S Manoa, C Clark (M Sorenson, 64); T Wood, P Dowson, G van Velze (C Lawes, 26).

Referee Nigel Owens (WRU).

Ulster

Pens: Jackson 3

Northampton Saints

Try: Van Velze

Con: Myler

Pen: Myler

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea