Jump to main content


Six-Try Ulster Hit The Summit

Six-Try Ulster Hit The Summit

Ulster’s Heineken Cup ambitions remain alive and kicking after a bonus point victory over Aironi in Monza moved them to the top of Pool 4.

Brian McLaughlin’s men scored six tries on their way to a well-merited win which puts them in pole position ahead of next month’s crunch clashes with Leicester Tigers (home) and Clermont Auvergne (away).

Andrew Trimble, Tom Court, Craig Gilroy and replacements Robbie Diack and Adam Macklin were all on the mark for the visitors, while a first half penalty try added to Italian woes.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

The quality of opposition notwithstanding, it was a strong performance by the Johann Muller-led side who dominated from the word go.

Indeed, they should have had a try after just four minutes but Trimble, having done the hard work to evade Aironi’s wide defence, inexplicably lost control of the ball when attempting to ground it with his right hand.

The Ireland winger made amends just a minute later, however, showing brilliant hands on the crash ball to touch down under the posts. Ian Humphreys converted, and Ulster were already on their way.

Aironi have both the worst defensive and attack records in this season’s Heineken Cup, and they really offered little to enthuse the home support,. Their out-half Luciano Orquera traded penalties with Humphreys to leave the score 10-3 in Ulster’s favour midway through the half.

It was the visiting forwards who took the plaudits for try number two, a penalty try awarded after a 15-metre rolling maul was dragged down just short of the Aironi line.

Humphreys again converted and leading 17-3 with two tries in the bag, Ulster’s Italian job was already half complete.

Oddly, Humphreys opted for another three-pointer with Aironi on the ropes after a touchline surge from man-of-the-match John Afoa had torn their defence asunder.

But there was little respite for the hapless Italians, and the third try duly arrived before the break, Court this time crossing the whitewash following a series of pick and drives. Humphreys was once again on the mark with the conversion.

Leading 27-3, the challenge for Ulster was to maintain their intensity after the break, but it took them an age to regain their rhythm as Aironi finally began to play with some conviction.

Indeed, it was the Italians who struck first in the second period, the lively Sinoti Sinoti slipping in for a 56th minute try after a period of sustained pressure, with Orquera adding the extras.

A game that was effectively dead at half-time then burst into further life when replacement Roberto Quartaroli sprinted home from 70 metres for Aironi’s second try. Ulster’s advantage was suddenly down to 12 points with 60 minutes gone.

But, with the travelling support becoming increasingly uncomfortable, Ulster finally woke up during the final quarter.

Gilroy’s try ten minutes from time secured the all important bonus point – the province’s second of these back-to-back fixtures.

Aironi refused to die, and replacement George Biagi scored a late consolation try. However, with Paul Marshall helping to maintain a high pace alongside Ruan Pienaar, the Ulstermen finished on a high.

Diack intercepted an inside pass from Gabriel Pizarro to scoot over for a well-taken score and quick hands created an opening on the right for Macklin to score his first try for the province.

The late tries completed a workmanlike performance from Ulster, whose only concern was a nasty knee injury picked up by young replacement Paddy Jackson.