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Bonus Point Reward For Ulster Ravens

Bonus Point Reward For Ulster Ravens

Ulster Ravens shot to the top of British & Irish Cup Pool C by outscoring Swansea by four tries to two at St. Helen’s on Saturday.

Young full-back Conor Gaston claimed the bonus point score as the Ulstermen enjoyed a winning start to their British & Irish Cup campaign.

With a dominant set piece and some influential individual displays, the Ravens were 22-0 to the good at half-time and well on their way to victory.

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Scrum half Ian Porter kicked an eighth minute penalty for the visitors, and outside centre Jonny Shiels then swooped for a try two minutes later, which Porter converted.

The Ravens pack used lineout ball to mount a drive and Shiels was sent over, after an overlap was created.

Two more tries from flanker Thomas Anderson and hooker and captain Nigel Brady saw Ulster turn pressure into points, but the sin-binning of prop Alan Whitten before half-time allowed tournament debutants Swansea get back into the game.

In the early stages of the second half, the hosts struck for two tries in the space of three minutes, with flanker David Blyth scoring from a lineout maul and replacement scum half Rhodri Wells dotting down after a quick tap penalty.

The Swansea side included 23-year-old lock Conor McInerney, who was ever-present for the Ireland Under-20s during their Grand Slam winning campaign in 2007. He signed for the Ospreys last year.

Ulster wrestled back control of the tie with a penalty from Porter and a clinching try from Gaston, who finished off Porter's initial break from a scrum.

Speaking after the game, Ravens team manager Gary Longwell said: “We are delighted with this start and that we have actually got the win let alone the bonus point.

“It was a tough journey over. We flew over in the morning and the boys were up at 5am. In the end it was a good win because Swansea are riding high in the Welsh Premiership at the moment – they are in good form.

“So we knew it was going to be very tough to come over here and to score 32 points was excellent.”

The Ravens' next game in the competition is away to the Bedford Blues on Saturday, December 11 (kick-off 3pm). Before that, they are scheduled to play the Connacht and Leinster 'A' sides next month in interprovincial clashes.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)