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Edinburgh 28 Ulster 17: Edinburgh bounce back in style against Ulster

Viliame Mata has become a huge property for Edinburgh.
Viliame Mata has become a huge property for Edinburgh.

Edinburgh went from the ridiculous of last week’s Zebre loss to a sublime performance and win over a strong Ulster side at BT Murrayfield in the Guinness PRO12.

The capital side rebounded as promised from last week’s dreadful loss with a near perfect first half sparked by two tries in the first 10 minutes from Viliami Mata and Damien Hoyland.

Magnus Bradbury’s try just about secured the win just after half-time even if the side faded a little in the last 20 minutes, but it was superb first hour especially from the youngsters who came in with Scotland stars missing.

Props Jack Cosgrove and Murray McCallum, both making their first starts, were outstanding while Jamie Ritchie made a storming return in the back row.

Edinburgh’s blistering start was down to targeting Ulster’s star man Charles Piutau, and it brought quick reward.

First a high Tovey bomb put the All Black in trouble, and from the good territory won the Edinburgh stand-off almost nipped through a gap, Mata picking a perfect line following up and shrugging off Tommy Bowe to score with barely two minutes played.

Tovey converted and then Mata’s chase and tackle on Puitau forced a hasty clearance, Edinburgh stayed patient through phases and when Blair Kinghorn was felled just short, Hoyland was at his heels to pick up and score.

That went unconverted but Kinghorn booted a penalty as Edinburgh’s swarming defence continued to put Ulster under severe pressure.

Even when Tovey had to go off briefly for a head injury check Duncan Weir came on and landed two penalties to one from Ruan Pienaar for a handsome 21-3 half-time lead for the home side.

Ulster came back with a flurry of replacements and a major assault, but Phil Burleigh’s quick-witted turnover won the ball and Edinburgh struck with a sucker punch.

Their scrum was creaking on halfway but Cornell du Preez picked up and found space, combining with Kennedy and Mike Allen to put the supporting Magnus Bradbury in for the third try, Tovey converting.

Edinburgh survived another long spell of defence with Piutau knocking on as he appeared to score, but they finally broke through with 15 minutes left as  chip kick bounced away from Tovey for replacement Cairns to score, Pienaar converting.

Moving Pienaar to 10 transformed Ulster and a fine inside ball from him allowed sub Jacob Stockdale to reduce the margin to 11 points with the Springbok’s conversion.

But unlike last week Edinburgh saw the game out with the lead in the final minutes for a notable win.

Att: 3750

Edinburgh: B Kinghorn, D Hoyland, C Dean (S Hidalgo-Clyne 76), P Burleigh, T Brown (M Allen 40); J Tovey (D Weir 68), S Kennedy; J Cosgrove (K Whyte 71), N Cochrane (capt, S McInally 63), M McCallum (F Arregui 60), F McKenzie (L Carmichael 68), B Toolis, V Mata (C du Preez 46), J Ritchie, M Bradbury

Ulster: C Piutau, T Bowe (A Cairns 65), L Marshall, S Windsor (P Marshall 65), R Lyttle;  B Herron (J Stockdale 43), R Pienaar; C Black (A Warwick 57), R Herring (capt, J Andrew 73), W Herbst (R Kane 40), D Tuohy (C Joyce 40), F van der Merwe (R Diack 44); P Browne, C Ross, S Reidy.

Ref: A Brace (IRFU)

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