Ulster travelled to Sixways Stadium on Friday night to face Guinness Premiership side Worcester Warriors, in their final pre-season friendly. Having won their last two home friendlies against Newcastle Flacons and Viadana, the next test was the away win and Brian McLaughlin’s side did not disappoint as they secured a 25-3 victory.
Five minutes into the first half, recent Ireland cap Ian Whitten crossed the line for Ulster’s first try of the game, with Ian Humphreys adding the extras for an early 7-0 lead.
Willie Walker closed the gap with a penalty for Worcester, and Ulster came under increased pressure as second row Ryan Caldwell spent time in the sin-bin.
But Brian McLaughlin’s charges kept the Warriors at bay and struck back at the start of the second half, with experienced scrum half Isaac Boss slipping through for a 49th minute try.
Humphreys missed the conversion but managed to land a penalty on 64 minutes, extending the visitors’ advantage to 15-3.
Humphreys kicked a second successful penalty and then in the closing minutes, number 8 Robbie Diack stormed through the Worcester defence for a well-executed try – Ulster’s third of an encouraging display – and Humphreys added the conversion for good measure.
So a rare win on English soil for Ulster and one founded on a solid defensive platform and clever gameplan.
Three pre-season wins out of three for something for McLaughlin and his coaching staff to savour – but maintaining that winning form away to the Dragons in next weekend’s Magners League opener is what really counts.
ULSTER: Bryn Cunningham; Timoci Nagusa, Andrew Trimble, Ian Whitten, Nevin Spence; Ian Humphreys, Isaac Boss; Bryan Young, Andy Kyriacou, BJ Botha, Dan Tuohy, Ryan Caldwell, Chris Henry (capt), Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack.
Replacements: Nigel Brady, Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick, Ed O’Donoghue, Thomas Anderson, Ian Porter, Niall O’Connor, Jonny Shiels, Darren Cave.