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Ulster Ravens Bag Bonus Point Against Bridgend

Ulster Ravens Bag Bonus Point Against Bridgend

Bridgend Ravens had a baptism of fire in their first British & Irish Cup match as Ulster Ravens hit them for seven tries in a 49-19 success for the hosts at Deramore Park.

A brace of tries from winger, Chris Cochrane, coupled with touchdowns from Stuart Olding, Niall Annett, captain Neil McComb and replacement Michael Heaney, saw the Ulstermen outscore the cup newcomers by six tries to one.

Transferring his excellent form from the Ulster Bank League, out-half Niall O'Connor kicked 17 points as he put in a solid 65 minutes before being replaced by Stuart McCloskey.

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Roger Wilson made his long-awaited return from injury in the game, lasting 40 minutes and the big back rower will be hopeful of being selected in the Ulster squad to face Glasgow Warriors in the Heineken Cup next weekend.

O'Connor kicked three penalties and converted the Ulster side's opening try in the 20th minute, as the sides went in at the break locked level at 16-16.

Centre Stuart Olding, who played a key role in the Ulster Under-20s' recent Grand Slam triumph, dotted down after a powerful run from the in-form Cochrane.

O'Connor's conversion got the province back on terms at 10-all before Bridgend number 10 Ross Jones shared out four penalties with O'Connor, leading up to half-time.

The hosts were ruthless in their finishing in the second period and scored at will. Ex-Ireland Under-20 captain Annett started the try fest eight minutes in.

Second row and skipper McComb broke free of the Bridgend tacklers to run in for his score in the corner. Then, a superb flick pass from O'Connor put Cochrane through for his first try after 64 minutes and the Dungannon flyer's second followed eight minutes later.

The Welsh club could only muster a fourth penalty from Jones. Although the bonus point was already secured, Ulster pressed for more tries and Heaney capped a fine 30-minute cameo with a great individual score right at the death.

Bristol, the 2011 cup winners who beat Cardiff 23-14 today, will provide the opposition for Ulster Ravens in the second round. The sides will meet next Sunday afternoon at the Memorial Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

Referee: John Meredith (England)