Five-star Ulster punish Solly
Five-star Ulster punish SollySHARE
It was an unhappy return to Ravenhill for Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons as Ulster cruised to a comfortable 47-17 victory.
Despite falling behind early to Cornell Du Preez' early try, the home side ran in five tries through Paul Marshall, Robbie Diack, Craig Gilroy (2) and McKinney – the latter maintaining a 100 per cent kicking record with five conversions and three penalties.
Edinburgh, coached by former Ulster chief Solomons, added late tries through Dougie Fife and Grayson Hart but it was not enough to deny a dominant Ulster outfit.
The visitors, aiming to make it three straight PRO12 victories, put the first points on the scoreboard on the quarter-hour mark as Sam Hidalgo-Clyde picked up the ball from the scrum before offloading to Du Preez.
The South African still had some work to do out on the line but he held off the tackle of two Ulster men to drop over in the corner, Harry Leonard missing the conversion to leave the score at 5-0.
The home fans did not have to wait long for a reply however, as referee Neil Hennessy penalised Edinburgh at the scrum five minutes later, leaving McKinney the chance to find his kicking range for the night.
The home side were building up a head of steam, stretching the play from one side to the other and their attacking endeavour paid off just short of the half-hour mark when Gilroy touched down in the corner.
The wing had shown his skill on the ball moments earlier with a dancing run in midfield but he was left with a relatively simple task for the try when a long pass out to the left saw him collect the ball before turning over the line – McKinney adding the extras for a 10-5 lead.
Ulster then had their second try of the night shortly afterwards as centre Darren Cave jinked his way past several tackles before skilfully offloading to Marshall in front of the posts.
The ball bounced off the scrumhalf's knee but bouncing favourably past the line, he gratefully gobbled up the loose ball before McKinney made it 17-5.
Ulster continued to press until the break, and with time ticking past 40 minutes, they again won a penalty from the scrum leaving McKinney to send over his kick for a 20-5 half-time lead.
It took until just past the hour for the Irish outfit to extend their lead through a converted try, as Diack powered through from close range just minutes after Izak van der Westhuizen was sent to the bin for Edinburgh.
And Edinburgh's misery was compounded two minutes later when Harry Leonard's pass was intercepted by a grateful Gilroy outside the 22 who then cantered over unopposed for his second try of the night, McKinney again on target from the tee to take it to 34-5.
But not content with having secured the bonus point, Ulster were again celebrating another converted try on 67 minutes when Grayson Hart's kick was charged down, with the ball eventually recycled for McKinney to cross in the corner.
Edinburgh, back to their full compliment, refused to give in though, and a period of slick passes resulted in Greig Tonks feeding Fife on the wing for a simple run in, Leonard missing the conversion.
And they crossed the whitewash again on 75 minutes as Hart drove towards the line despite Dave Shanahan's diving tackle – Leonard converting to round off the scoring.
Tries: Gilroy 2, Marshall, Diack, McKinney
Cons: McKinney 5
Pens: McKinney 2
Tries: Du Preez, Fife, Hart
Ulster: 15 Craig Gilroy,14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 James McKinney, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Tom Court, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Peter Nelson, 23 Ricky Andrew.
Edinburgh: 15 Greg Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Joaquin Dominguez, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Jack Cuthbert, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Roddy Grant (captain), 6 Tomas Leonardi, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 WP Nel, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Wicus Blaauw
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Ross Rennie, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Sam Beard, 23 Tom Brown
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
TMO: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)
Newport Gwent Dragons 23-8 Glasgow Warriors
Fullback Jason Tovey stole the show as Newport Gwent Dragons inflicted only a second RaboPRO12 defeat of the season on a lacklustre Glasgow Warriors with a resounding 23-8 win.
The full back kicked two penalties and a drop goal as well as two conversions – one to his own try and one for Will Harries' score – as Dragons made no issue of key players being absent.
They even had three players sent to the bin, but still overpowered their opponents, who only managed to add points through a Nikola Matawalu try and Henry Pyrgos penalty.
With four defeats in four against Scottish opposition, the Dragons would have been hoping to get off to a good start, but it did not go according to plan with Pat Leach seeing yellow for a tip tackle inside the first minute.
And the home side made the man advantage tell immediately as Stuart Hogg, back in the team after six weeks out, drew the Dragons defence out to leave Matawalu to stroll in for a 5-0 lead, Pyrgos missing the conversion.
However the Dragons hit back and took the lead as Tovey found his range with two quick fire penalties before Leach returned to the fold for the Warriors on 11 minutes.
Pyrgos was finding it hard to find his range from the tee, with the scrum-half seeing his 21st minute penalty bounce back off the upright and into the safety of Dragons hands.
And it was the visitors who extended their lead just past the half hour mark as Matawalu spilled the ball trying to clear a long kick just metres in front of his own line, allowing Tovey to nip in for the try and subsequent conversion.
Glasgow reduced the arrears to five points shortly after the break, with Pyrgos notching his first score of the night from a penalty after Dragons were penalised at the line out.
Tovey attempted to extend his side's lead with a drop goal on 52 minutes but it drifted off target before the Dragons found themselves down to 14 for the second time in the match when Matthew Pewtner was sinbinned.
But as was the case in the first half, the visitors again defied the man advantage when Tovey chipped over the top into the corner for Will Harries to claim the try, the former adding the conversion for 20-8.
Natani Talei then joined Pewtner in the bin on 59 minutes for a deliberate block and despite the home side attacking, the Dragons appeared to hold firm.
The Warriors did have an opportunity to reduce the arrears but Stuart Hogg missed from the kicking tee on 66 minutes.
And with the Dragons back to their full compliment of players they again looked to attack with Tovey's drop goal on 76 minutes extending the Dragons lead to 8-23 for the final action of the night.
Tries: Tovey, Harries
Cons: Tovey 2
Pens: Tovey 2
Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 DTH van der Merwe, 12 Finn Russell, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Scott Wight, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 George Hunter, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 James Eddie, 20 Leone Nakarawa, 21 Josh Strauss, 22 Mark Bennett / Rory Hughes, 23 Jack Steele.
Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ross Wardle 11 Matthew Pewtner, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 James Benjamin, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Robert Sidoli (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Francisco Chaparro, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Dan Way, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Ashley Smith.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)