A Leicester Tigers team packed with Lions starters found Ulster a handful in the opening exchanges, but the hosts gradually built a winning lead at Welford Road on Saturday as they handed Mark Anscombe’s men a 30-10 defeat
PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY: Saturday, August 31
LEICESTER TIGERS 30 ULSTER 10, Welford Road
Scorers: Leicester Tigers: Tries: Niall Morris, David Mele, Anthony Allen, Sebastian de Chaves; Cons: Ryan Lamb 2; Pens: Ryan Lamb 2
Ulster: Try: Chris Henry; Con: Paddy Jackson; Pen: James McKinney
This pre-season friendly had to be stopped early on after Toby Flood clashed with Dan Tuohy in the seventh minute and it was a quarter of an hour before the match resumed.
When it was restarted, Ulster second row Tuohy was shown a yellow card for using his forearm when trying to fend off Flood’s challenge and Ryan Lamb replaced Flood.
James McKinney, Ulster’s starting out-half, missed a penalty attempt in the 28th minute but he made amends three minutes later when Leicester failed to release at the breakdown.
Tigers replacement Lamb made it three points apiece with a penalty in the 31st minute after Roger Wilson had been pinged for a high tackle.
The Ulstermen continued to create chances with returning Ireland internationals Andrew Trimble and Luke Marshall making good runs deep into the home 22.
In the 41st minute the Leicester defence turned the ball over and attacked from their own line. In a sweeping move, the ball was flashed wide where it finally found the hands of Ireland Wolfhounds ace Niall Morris who sprinted clear to score. Lamb added the extras to take the Tigers 10-3 clear.
Leicester increased their advantage four minutes later with David Mele crossing for an unconverted try in the left hand corner. Lamb brought the first half to a close with a penalty to take the hosts into an 18-3 half-time lead.
The second period was rather stop-start with both sides finding it difficult to get clean ball from first phase, but it was the Tigers who struck again with Anthony Allen sprinting clear in the 47th minute to touch down. Lamb added the conversion to take Leicester 25-3 clear.
Ulster had some decent play in the next 15 minutes with Robbie Diack and Trimble make good ground on a number of occasions.
Jerome Schuster was yellow carded for the Tigers for slowing the ball at a ruck on the Leicester line in the 60th minute and Ulster opted for a five-metre scrum.
The ball was duly secured and moved open with back rower Chris Henry managing to force his way over for a deserved try for the province. Replacement Paddy Jackson added the extras.
Leicester had the final say though with the last play of the game, Sebastian de Chaves scoring in the left hand corner for an unconverted try to give the English club a 20-point winning margin.
The sides will meet in the pool stages of this season’s Heineken Cup, with Ulster hosting Leicester at Ravenhill on Friday, October 11. Tickets for that game go on sale on Monday (September 2) and are available from ulsterrugby.com/tickets.
LEICESTER TIGERS: Niall Morris; Scott Hamilton, Niki Goneva, Anthony Allen, Adam Thompstone; Toby Flood (capt), David Mele; Logo, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Louis Deacon, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft, Julian Salvi, Jordan Crane.
Replacements: Neil Briggs, George Chuter, Boris Stankovich, Jerome Schuster, Fraser Balmain, Tom Bristow, Harry Wells, Tom Price, Sebastian de Chaves, Michael Noone, Jamie Gibson, Thomas Waldrom, Scott Steele, George Tresidder, Ryan Lamb, Owen Williams, Dan Bowden, George Catchpole, Henry Purdy, Perry Humphreys.
ULSTER: Jared Payne; Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Chris Farrell, David McIlwaine; James McKinney, Paul Marshall; Tom Court, Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Callum Black, Niall Annett, Declan Fitzpatrick, Alan O’Connor, Conor Joyce, Lewis Stevenson, Mike McComish, Sean Doyle, Ian Porter, Paddy Jackson, Michael Allen, Ricky Andrew.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU)