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
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 52 | 24
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
PRO14
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 10 10 0 0 48
Munster 10 7 0 3 36
Cheetahs 10 6 0 4 29
Cardiff Blues 10 4 0 6 19
Connacht 10 3 0 7 18
Zebre 10 3 0 7 16
Ospreys 10 2 0 8 11
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 10 8 0 2 40
Leinster 10 8 0 2 37
Ulster 10 7 1 2 35
Edinburgh 10 6 0 4 28
Treviso 10 3 0 7 15
Dragons 10 2 1 7 13
Kings 10 0 0 10 4