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
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before