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Try Scorer Patterson Impresses In Ulster’s First Pre-Season Run-Out

Try Scorer Patterson Impresses In Ulster’s First Pre-Season Run-Out

Ulster were outscored by four tries to two in tonight’s pre-season clash with Wasps, one of their Champions Cup pool opponents, at Kingspan Stadium. Les Kiss gave both established first teamers and Academy prospects a run-out in advance of the GUINNESS PRO14 kicking off next month.

PRE-SEASON MATCH: Thursday, August 17

ULSTER 15 WASPS 26, Kingspan Stadium
Scorers: Ulster: Tries: Peter Browne, Callum Patterson; Con; Peter Nelson; Pen: Brett Herron
Wasps: Tries: Craig Hampson, Simon McIntyre, Josh Bassett, Danny Cipriani; Cons: Danny Cipriani 3

HT: Ulster 8 Wasps 14

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The highlights for Ulster were well-taken tries from Peter Browne and Callum Patterson, who delivered a particularly polished performance at centre, looking in no way out of place in a back-line with over 500 caps between them.

Wasps, while by no means at full strength either, looked powerful and dangerous from one to 15, and showed enough to confirm that the Coventry-based side, runners-up in last season’s Aviva Premiership, will prove formidable opponents in a tough European pool.

Early signs of ring-rustiness from both sides set the tone for the first 10 minutes, with the visitors settling first to put together a flowing move down the Ulster left which culminated in a converted try for scrum half Craig Hampson.

Ulster toiled hard but gained little in response, enjoying virtually exclusive possession of the ball in the remainder of the first quarter but struggling to make any real impact, with even a deep rolling maul – one of their most prolific weapons last term – coming to naught.

A Brett Herron penalty on 21 minutes narrowed the gap, and when Wasps cheaply surrendered a lineout on their 22, the Ulster drive looked promising until Stuart McCloskey knocked on. Infringements at the scrum, however, gifted Ulster the put-in and then a penalty, and a quick tap-and-go soon had second row Browne bundling over for the try.

A knock for McCloskey brought the returning Tommy Bowe into action at centre five minutes short of half-time, but Wasps went on to fare considerably better at the rolling maul seconds from the whistle, with Simon McIntyre applying the finishing touch after strong driving from his front row partners Ashley Johnson and Jake Cooper-Woolley. That left Ulster 14-8 down at the break.

Heavy rotation brought several new faces onto the pitch for the start of the second half, including Rob Herring, Rodney Ah You and Peter Nelson, but it was two starters who engineered a fine second try for Ulster – Nick Timoney supplying the killer pass and Patterson the pace to outstrip all chasers to the line.

Wasps struck back promptly through winger Josh Bassett with a score that proved unpopular with the Kingspan faithful, both for the apparent crossing at its outset that went unpunished, and for the ease with which the visitors ploughed through the Ulster defence as the move gathered momentum.

Danny Cipriani, who finished with 11 points added a fourth try with finesse just before the hour mark, and despite the introduction of the 120-kg bulk of new Springbok recruit Jean Deysel, the Ulstermen had to wait a further 10 minutes before carving out their next scoring chance, foiled when Nelson just ran out of space on the left flank.

It was to prove the hosts’ last opportunity of note, sending the Kingspan crowd home disappointed but with their appetite whetted for the advent of the season proper in two weeks’ time. South African outfit, the Cheetahs, visit Belfast to make their PRO14 bow on Friday, September 1 – but before that, a final friendly awaits next Friday against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.

ULSTER: Louis Ludik; Andrew Trimble, Callum Patterson, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy; Brett Herron, Paul Marshall; Callum Black, John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Peter Browne, Alan O’Connor, Matt Rea, Chris Henry (capt), Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Kyle McCall, Rodney Ah You, Jonny Simpson, Robbie Diack, Jean Deysel, Caleb Montgomery, Clive Ross, Aaron Cairns, David Shanahan, Peter Nelson, Tommy Bowe, Charles Piutau, Jack Owens.

WASPS: Rob Miller; Marcus Watson, Brendan Macken, Gaby Lovobalavu, Josh Bassett; Danny Cipriani, Craig Hampson; Simon McIntyre, Ashley Johnson, Jake Cooper-Woolley, Will Rowlands, Kearnan Myall, Jack Willis, Guy Thompson, Alex Rieder.

Replacements: Tom Cruse, Ben Harris, Paul Doran-Jones, Matt Symons, Marcus Garratt, Antonio TJ Harris, Dan Robson, Juan De Jongh, Guy Armitage, Christian Wade, Owain James.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)