Ireland duo Andrew Trimble and Isaac Boss both touched down for Ulster on Friday night as Mark McCall’s secured a 14-7 victory over the Dragons at Ravenhill.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, February 16
ULSTER 14 NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS 7, Ravenhill (Att: 9,237)
Scorers: Ulster: Tries: Andrew Trimble, Isaac Boss; Cons: David Humphreys 2
Dragons: Try: Aled Brew; Con: Ceri Sweeney
The current champions scored early tries though Irish test duo Isaac Boss and Andrew Trimble, with David Humphreys converting both to open a 14-0 lead after only 20 minutes.
However they were pegged back just before the break when Aled Brew crossed for the Dragons, and Ceri Sweeney converted.
Ulster pressed in the opening stages of the second period but were unable to capitalize and then had to withstand some late pressure from the visitors before they could guarantee taking the points and keeping just behind Leinster in the table.
TIME LINE: 6 minutes – Ulster try: Andrew Trimble – 5-0; conversion: David Humphreys – 7-0; 19 mins – Ulster try: Isaac Boss – 12-0; conversion: David Humphreys – 14-0; 32 mins – Ulster penalty: missed by David Humphreys; 39 mins – Dragons try: Aled Brew – 14-5; conversion: Ceri Sweeney – 14-7; Half-Time – Ulster 14 Dragons 7; Full-Time – Ulster 14 Dragons 7
ULSTER: Bryn Cunningham; Tommy Bowe, Paul Steinmetz, Paddy Wallace, Andrew Trimble; David Humphreys, Isaac Boss: Justin Fitzpatrick, Paul Shields, Simon Best (capt), Justin Harrison, Tim Barker, Neil Best, Kieron Dawson, Stephen Ferris.
Replacements used: Bryan Young for S Best (54 mins), Paul McKenzie for Cunningham (55), Roger Wilson for Dawson (60), Kevin Maggs for Wallace (75), Kieran Campbell for Boss (78). Not used: Stuart Philpott, Ryan Caldwell. DRAGONS: Aled Thomas; Gareth Wyatt, Paul Emerick, Phil Dolman, Aled Brew; Ceri Sweeney, Gareth Cooper; Adam Black, Ben Daly, Jamie Corsi, Luke Charteris, Peter Sidoli, Andrew Hall, Jamie Ringer, Michael Owen.
Replacements used: Colin Charvis for Hall (half-time), Gethin Robinson for Corsi (46-59 mins), Alex Walker for Cooper, Nic Fitisemanu for Owen (both 63), Robinson for Corsi (72). Not used: Richard Wilkes, Richard Fussell, Mike Hercus.
Sin Bin: -; IrishRugby.ie man of the match: Steinmetz (Ulster)
Referee: David Changleng (Scotland)