Ulster dodged an Italian bullet

Sun, 22 Dec 2013 08:12
Large ruan pienaar ulster ball 63

They may have moved up to second in the PRO12 with victory over Zebre but Ulster coach Mark Anscombe believes his side were lucky.

They may have moved up to second in the PRO12 with victory over Zebre but Ulster coach Mark Anscombe believes his side were lucky.

Despite Zebre sitting bottom of the PRO12, the Irish side found themselves trailing 6-0 to the Italians before Jared Payne's skilful try, converted by Ruan Pienaar, pulled them back in front before the break.

Piennar would add another two penalties in the second half to help grind out the 13-6 victory in what was a windy and wet Friday night at Ravenhill.

The game brought an end to a run of four games against Italian sides, with their last two matches seeing them beat Benetton Treviso in the European Cup.

But while their defence has now not conceded a try in almost a month since their 19-11 PRO12 win over Zebre, Anscombe challenged the team to turn in a better 80-minute performance.

"We dodged a bullet there," Anscombe told the Belfast Telegraph. "We didn't play well but we'll bounce on and we'll now have to lift the bar.

"That was a tough game and the fact is that getting up and performing the week after the Heineken is traditionally tough.

"Even when you make changes we have enough experience here to demand a bit more of ourselves.

"It's a process we've got to look at it but it was a poor performance, but we got the win.

"I thought the defence there at one stage before half-time was pleasing and I think it gives us 267 minutes now without a try scored against us so that's pleasing.

"And that's what you want and the boys fought on the goal-line just before half-time but that attitude we showed there for five minutes wasn't the attitude that we showed for the other 75 or so."

The match also marked Paddy Wallace's return to the first team since suffering a serious knee injury last February.

The 34-year-old is the club's record appearance maker with 189 games in an Ulster shirt and Anscombe believes the playmaker can have an impact going forward.

"It's been a long year for him and he'll be better for his 60-odd minutes," he added.

"He's still got a lot to offer us and it's good that he's got the confidence now with a few games under his belt. With a few more he'll be better for it."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Blues 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 57 | 14
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
PRO12
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 20 17 0 3 79
Munster 20 17 0 3 76
Scarlets 20 15 0 5 67
Ospreys 20 13 0 7 65
Ulster 20 13 1 6 64
Glasgow Warriors 20 11 0 9 57
Cardiff Blues 20 9 1 10 45
Connacht 20 9 7 11 44
Edinburgh 20 4 0 16 23
Dragons 20 4 0 16 21
Treviso 20 4 0 16 19
Zebre 20 3 0 17 18