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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Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 16 13 1 2 65
Munster 17 10 0 7 54
Cheetahs 17 9 0 8 47
Cardiff Blues 17 9 0 8 42
Connacht 17 6 0 11 33
Ospreys 16 6 0 10 30
Zebre 16 4 0 12 22
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 17 13 1 3 64
Scarlets 17 12 1 4 61
Edinburgh 17 12 0 5 55
Ulster 16 9 1 6 46
Treviso 17 8 0 9 40
Dragons 17 2 2 13 17
Kings 17 1 0 16 9