Visser scores late try to keep Scottish interest alive

Edinburgh 17 Ulster 13: Refusal to bend the knee helps Edinburgh avoid a disastrous home defeat by a dogged Ulster side

At that moment when a team are faced with their greatest fear, that however meaningful their efforts they will still come up short, Edinburgh found something invaluable. It was the spirit that drives you on in the face of the kind of doubt that might otherwise prompt despondency. So despite the aggressive resolve of Ulster's defence, in a game that had been littered with disheartening errors, Edinburgh reached for the victory that means they are still a relevant presence in the Heineken Cup.

There were self-inflicted wounds at times, and a growing sense of anxiety as the second half wore on, but Tim Visser's try, with only 12 minutes left, was met by a cheer so heavy with relief and sheer joy that it seemed like a plaintive cry.

"Ulster make it difficult for you to play, but we kept going," said Edinburgh's head coach, Rob Moffat. "We were the team playing the rugby in the second half."

Edinburgh came into this game having confronted a crisis of self- esteem. They had lost three consecutive fixtures, diminishing their domestic and Heineken Cup hopes. They had to win here, and any wariness would have been enhanced by the late withdrawal of Chris Paterson. The full-back fell victim to a viral infection, robbing Edinburgh of their most potent weapon: his kicking. Yet only two minutes into the game, Phil Godman converted a penalty from six metres inside the Ulster half, showing why his own prowess with the boot is so highly valued at Murrayfield. The fly-half repeated this feat in the 20th minute, but Edinburgh were vulnerable to their own frailties.

Contesting a scrum two metres from their own line, the home side were betrayed by a lack of concentration. When Timoci Nagusa gathered possession, Steve Turnbull, Mark Robertson and Godman all hesitated, allowing the Fijian winger to cut through them as though they were as insignificant as shadows. Ian Humphreys converted the try to take the score to 7-6 to the visitors.

The home side were suddenly overwhelmed by the vigorous hostility of the Ulster forwards. A raggedness entered Edinburgh's play, as though they were disconcerted by the change in circumstances, and after a passage of loose play that would have brought a grimace to Moffat's face, a Humphreys penalty left Edinburgh 10-6 behind.

The half ended with the home side probing Ulster's resolute defence, with Godman's drop-goal attempt being charged down by Willie Faloon. The fly-half then missed his second penalty of the afternoon, allowing Ulster to leave the field with gladdened hearts.

The interval did little to revive Edinburgh's composure, and conceding possession early in the second half led to another penalty that Humphreys comfortably converted from 22 metres.

At 13-6 down, a pattern was now painfully clear; Edinburgh attempted to open into the kind of expansive play that might revive their fortunes and Ulster stood firm, killing the game and forcing their opponents into errors and infringements. Edinburgh conceded another penalty and only Humphreys' waywardness prevented the score from easing beyond the home team.

Perhaps they sensed then that all was not lost, and a stirring move revived their momentum. Twice the ball was ferried cross-field, before the centre Nick De Luca was released. With Visser waiting outside him, he held on to the ball and was stopped just short of the line.

Another Godman penalty acted like a clarion call, and Edinburgh's tenacity was rewarded on another break down the left, De Luca this time opting to pass to Visser on his outside, and the winger scoring a priceless try. Godman missed the conversion, but a penalty in the 80th minute sealed a victory heavy with significance.

Edinburgh S Jones; M Robertson (B Cairns, 58), N De Luca, J Houston, T Visser; P Godman, M Blair (capt; G Laidlaw, 68); K Traynor (A Jacobsen, 58), R Ford, G Cross, S Turnbull (C Hamilton, 42), S MacLeod, A MacDonald, A Hogg (S Newlands, 58), R Grant.

Ulster C Schifcofske; T Nagusa (S Danielli, 62), D Cave, P Wallace (capt), A Trimble; I Humphreys, I Boss (P Marshall, 79); T Court (B Young, 62), A Kyriacou, B Botha, E O'Donoghue, R Caldwell, S Ferris, R Diack, W Faloon.

Referee: D Pearson (England).

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all