Ulster give Northampton a Heineken Cup blow

Ulster all but ended Northampton Saints Heineken Cup campaign when they beat the Saints 6-25 at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday.

Ulster won their 13th game in 13 outings this season when they clinched a bonus
point victory which keeps them on course for the European Cup quarter-finals.

Ulster scored four tries to stay top of Pool 4 with three wins out of three
while Northampton slipped to third place behind Castres who beat Glasgow 9-6.

“That was a bit of a statement,” said Ulster coach Mark Anscombe.

“We weren’t even thinking about the bonus point. We were more than happy
to come and take the win.

“But we are not getting carried away. Northampton have too many quality
players and they will bounce back from this performance.”

In the night’s other match, Connacht celebrated their first win over French
opposition with a 22-14 victory against Biarritz in Pool 3.

Ulster, the 1999 champions and runners-up to Leinster last season, opened the
scoring at Franklin’s Gardens after 10 minutes through winger Andrew Trimble.

Paddy Jackson released his teammate with a clever, delayed chip ahead which
fell perfectly for Trimble to beat Northampton full-back Ben Foden to the ball
and touch down for his 20th European Cup try in his 49th match.

Jackson missed the conversion before opposing fly-half Ryan Lamb fluffed his
second penalty of the night.

Jackson then went wide with a penalty from just inside the Saints’ half before
Lamb finally found his length and direction with a long-range penalty to make
the score 5-3 to the Irish side.

Ulster won a penalty straight from the restart for a lineout infringement and
this time Jackson hit the target to put his team 8-3 to the good.

Lamb’s poor night continued when he missed a third penalty just before the
half-hour mark when veteran centre Paddy Wallace was punished for a dangerous
tackle on Northampton winger Ken Pisi.

Ulster scored their second try in the 33rd minute through winger Tommy Bowe.

The move was created by New Zealand full-back Jared Payne’s pinpoint kick ahead
which rocked Northampton back on their heels.

Ulster created the over-lap with Wallace putting Bowe in space for his 23rd
European Cup try as the visitors went 13-3 ahead although Jackson again missed
the conversion.

Lamb at least kept the Saints in touch with a 20-metre penalty as Ulster went
in at half-time with a 13-6 lead.

That advantage quickly became 18-6 early in the second period when Payne grabbed
Ulster’s third try, collecting Trimble’s pass before nipping inside the Northampton
defence with a smart dummy to score.

Jackson added the extras for 20-6 but then went short with an optimistic long-range
penalty shot.

Northampton piled on the pressure in the closing stages but were unable to
breach a resolute Ulster defence with the visitors even surviving having flanker
Ian Henderson sin-binned for not releasing a tackled player on the ground.

Lock Dan Tuohy added the bonus-point try in the last minute for 25-6 with Jackson’s
conversion out wide missing the target.

Final Score Northampton Saints (6) 6 Ulster (13) 25


Scorers


Northampton Saints
Pens: Lamb 2


Ulster (13) 25
Tries: Trimble, Bowe, Payne, Tuohy
Pens: Jackson
Cons: Jackson


Referee: Jerome Garces (Fra),
Assistant ref: Patrick Pechambert (Fra),
Assistant ref: Sebastian Cloute (Fra),
TMO: Laurent Valin (Fra),
Citing Commisioner: Jean-Claude Legendre (Fra)


Teams


Northampton Saints: Ben Foden; Ken Pisi, George Pisi, Dominic Waldouck, Jamie Elliott; Ryan Lamb, Martin Roberts;

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