Ulster smash Leicester Tigers in Heineken Cup

Ulster Rugby smashed Leicester Tigers 41-7 in their Pool 4 Heineken Cup match at Ravenhill on Friday night leaving Leicester Tigers future in this year’s tournament hanging by a thread.

Ulster were better than Leicester in every facet of the game which leaves Leicester needing a miracle in order to progress further in the Heineken Cup.

Ulster made their intentions known almost from the kick off as they started at pace and within the first 10 minutes had scored a point a minute through a converted try and a penalty by Ruan Pienaar.

South African Pienaar went on to kick 21 points as Ulster routed the former
double champions Leicester and put his side on the brink of European Cup quarter-final

The bonus-point win gave Ulster 19 points on top of Pool Four and left 2001
and 2002 winners Leicester virtually out of contention for a last-eight place
after suffering a record defeat.

“We are out. We will be third in our group. We are done,” said Leicester
boss Richard Cockerill.

Ulster’s South African skipper Johann Muller praised his team.

“That was definitely one of our best performances in terms of taking our
chances and the passion we showed,” he said.

“But it doesn’t mean anything unless we get some points in Clermont (in
the last round of games next week). We have to make sure we do what we have
to do.”

Ulster, the 1999 champions, were off to a flying start at Ravenhill, racing
into 10-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes with winger Andrew Trimble diving
into the corner for the opening try with scrum-half Pienaar adding the extras.

Ice-cool Pienaar then added a penalty but Leicester’s veteran skipper Geordan
Murphy cut the deficit on the quarter-hour mark.

England scrum-half Ben Youngs was the architect with a clever, delayed pass
which sucked in three Ulster defenders and allowed 34-year-old Murphy to sprint
through the gap and score his 24th career try in the competition.

Billy Twelvetrees converted for 10-7 to the home side.

But Leicester were then penalised at the breakdown on the halfway line and
Pienaar booted a monster, long-distance penalty for a 13-7 advantage.

Pienaar, a 51-cap international, then set up Trimble for a carbon-copy of his
opening try just before the interval with the Irish international winger shrugging
off the muscular attentions of Alesana Tuilagi to touch down, tight in the corner.

This time Pienaar was off target with a tricky conversion, but Ulster were
still in front 18-7 at the break.

Twelvetrees, deputising for the injured Toby Flood, missed a simple opportunity
to cut the deficit in the second minute of the second half when he cracked his
penalty against a post.

Pienaar then showed Twelvetrees how to do it by hitting two successive penalties
— awarded for hands in the ruck and for holding onto the ball — for a 24-7

Leicester’s discipline and shape continued to disintegrate and Pienaar again
popped over a penalty for a 27-7 lead before the English side lost replacement
prop Dan Cole to the sin-bin for arguing with the referee.

Ulster’s third try also had a significant South African stamp on it when Pienaar,
full-back Stefan Terblanche and No 8 Pedrie Wannenburg all combined to send
Craig Gilroy over.

Pienaar hit the conversion before the home side secured the bonus point, eight
minutes from time when replacement scrum-half Paul Marshall took a tap penalty
and sprinted away for the score.

Not surprisingly, Pienaar who had moved to outside-half, added the conversion.

Final Score Ulster 41 (18) Leicester 7 (7)


Tries: Trimble 2, Gilroy, Marshall
Penalties: Pienaar 5
Conversions: Pienaar 3

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