Many of Ulster’s new signings and young talents were on display as Ulster took on Bath in the first of 3 pre-season friendlies. Despite the Ulstermen missing out on the victory a spirited display and a number of stand out individual performances contributed to the 7-15 scoreline.
Ulster were put under pressure by a speedy at Bath side early in the match. The visitors however were unable to take advantage of their possession and an interception from Ulster Academy player Chris Cochrane in the 18th minute provided a bit of rest bite for the Ulstermen who were forced to defend heavily for several phases of play.
Former Ulster player Justin Harrison’s departure from Ravenhill was short lived as he returned to run out once more in the 31st minute for new club Bath to rapturous applause. Moments later Williams made a raft of substitutions with Matt McCullough, Ed O’Donoghue and Cillian Willis all being replaced by TJ Anderson, Filo Paulo and Paul Marshall respectively.
Bath’s Rhys Crane eventually claimed the first points of the game finally breaking through the Ulster defence to touch down in the dieing minutes of the first half. Bath’s number 15 Jack Cuthbert failed to convert however Crane was quick to extend the visitors lead; his second try of the night snatching Bath a further 5 points deep into injury time.
Fly Half Shaun Berne’s conversion took Bath’s lead to 0-12 as the half time whistle blew.
Ulster responded early in the second half with their aggressive play paying off in the 50th minute after a string of well placed passes eventually found Darren Cave who touched down to claim Ulster’s first points of the night; new signing Clinton Schifcofske, added his two points to bring the score line to Ulster 7 v 12 Bath.
Ulster pushed deep into Bath’s 22 but were unable to turn their possession into points. The stalemate was eventually broken when Bath stole possession in the 65th minute but a well placed kick from Niall O’Connor took the ball out of danger.
Despite an impressive run from new signing Timoci Nagusa, who powered through two of Bath’s defensive line in a late break attempt, a late penalty sealed Bath’s victory with Robbie Kydd on target to extend the visitors lead in the final minutes of play.
Final Score Ulster 7 v Bath 15
Ulster: Clinton Schifcofske, Chris Cochrane, Darren Cave, Rob Dewey, Timoca Nagusa, Niall O’Connnor, Cillian Willis, Justin Fitzpatrick, Nigel Brady, Tom Court, Ed O’Donoghue, Carlo Del Fava, Matt McCullough, Kieron Dawson © Robbie Diak, Replacements Neil Hanna Jarlath Carey, Filo Paulo, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Bryn Cunningham, Ian Whitten Willie Falloon, Thomas Anderson, Seamus Mallon
Bath: Cuthbert, Maddock, Crockett © Cheeseman, Stephenson, Berne, Claassens, Barnes, Dixon, Bell, Hooper, Grewcock, Short, Scaysbrook, Browne, Replacements Hawkins,Flatman, Jarvis, Harrison, Ovens, Bemand, Kydd, Fuimaono, Crane