Home page | Official Irish Rugby

Ireland
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: MUNSTER 17 ULSTER 19

The departing head coach watched his charges lose this tight interprovincial affair, although a victory would not have mattered anyway given that Glasgow Warriors sewed up second place in the league - and a home semi-final - by demolishing Zebre in a bonus point win.

Munster are away to in-form Glasgow in the play-offs next Friday (Scotstoun Stadium, kick-off 7.35pm) and they will have to raise their game significantly from this showing.

For Ulster's part, they will take plenty of confidence from this rare Limerick win as they move on to meet Leinster at the RDS next Saturday (kick-off 7pm) in a repeat of last year's RaboDirecy PRO12 decider.

An Ian Keatley penalty and Duncan Williams' converted try put Munster in the ascendancy, before Ulster's Michael Heaney crossed with James McKinney's conversion and penalty levelling matters at the break - 10-10.

Sean Dougall's seven-pointer moved the hosts back in front, but nine more points from McKinney's unerring boot proved decisive as Ulster recorded their first season's double over Munster since 2009.

With both sides having already secured their play-off spots, there were wholesale changes for this round 22 date.

Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe made 12 changes to the team that narrowly lost to Leinster at Ravenhill, while Rob Penney brought in 10 new faces to the side that thumped Edinburgh 55-12.

Reshuffling aside, however, these interpro games are renowned for being hard-fought, bruising encounters as the previous meeting at Ravenhill in January proved.

Here in Limerick Munster were unlucky not to score two minutes in when Gerhard van den Heever was denied one-on-one by Ulster's Stuart McCloskey near the corner.

Despite a sloppy opening, the hosts took the lead in the 11th minute when Keatley successfully kicked a penalty after an infringement.

And soon after, the game's first try arrived from a superb interchange of passing that was initiated by Casey Laulala and Keatley inside the Munster half. Williams, James Downey and James Coughlan kept the move going and the latter's pass sent the scrum half away to score in the left corner.

Although Keatley brilliantly converted from near the touchline to put Munster 10-0 up, Ulster hit back as the home defence were caught napping following a turnover.

Scrum half Heaney did very well to break free into the 22, taking a return ball from Michael Allen, and he stretched over to reduce the deficit despite a last-gasp tackle from Laulala.

The try was given following consultation over the final pass from Allen. Man-of-the-match McKinney added the extras to make it 10-7.

On 36 minutes, Ulster tied a scrappy and error-ridden match at 10-all when McKinney, with Heaney holding the ball steady on the tee, landed a penalty from 35 metres out.

McKinney then kicked the visitors ahead after the restart with another finely judged penalty in the swirling wind, but Munster responded immediately with seven points.

Flanker Dougall pounced on Keatley's grubber kick through, gleefully dotting down after the ball had somehow evaded the first four players on the scene. The latter nailed his third consecutive kick to regain the lead at 17-13.

However, goal-kicking hero McKinney grabbed his fourth and fifth successive kicks - the last one from a difficult position on the left - to put the Ulstermen 19-17 in front with 15 minutes to go.

Despite an increased effort in the wet conditions, Munster were unable to claw victory from defeat as replacement JJ Hanrahan missed a last minute drop goal effort and also an injury-time penalty attempt from halfway.

Anscombe will have been very pleased to see his young charges hold on for a hard-fought triumph, which was all the more impressive given that Nick Williams and captain Dan Tuohy were forced off with knee injuries.

Having lost to Glasgow recently, this was Munster's first time tasting back-to-back league defeats at Thomond Park since April 2010.
No ALT tag specified