Mis fir­ing Ul­ster leave it late with Trim­ble try in fi­nal min­utes

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

It was an­other stut­ter­ing per­for­mance from Ul­ster yet this time they dug out an un­likely look­ing win when Chris­tian Leali­ifano con­verted re­place­ment An­drew Trim­ble’s 78th-minute try.

The Wal­laby’s two points snatched a scarcely de­served four points on what had been an­other mis­fire from Les Kiss’s ad­mit­tedly in­jury-hit side, which saw them lose sec­ond place in Con­fer­ence B to Le­in­ster’s bet­ter points dif­fer­en­tial.

The warn­ings had been there when they failed to take ad­van­tage of An­drea Bronzini’s first-half yel­low card and Charles Pi­u­tau was hav­ing a mostly anony­mous evening. The gift­ing of Robert Bar­bieri’s 56th-minute try was a hor­ror.

The vis­i­tors opened the scor­ing with a Tom­maso Al­lan penalty af­ter four min­utes. The Benet­ton out-half added a sec­ond af­ter 12 min­utes. But all that changed five min­utes later when John Cooney sup­plied Tommy Bowe for the evening’s open­ing try. Cooney’s con­ver­sion nudged Ul­ster ahead, and then put them 10-6 up with a 21st minute penalty.

That be­came 13-6 just af­ter the half hour when Cooney slot­ted a straight­for­ward ef­fort fol­low­ing winger Al­berto Bronzini’s yel­low-card for a high hit on Louis Ludik.

Al­lan was then wide with a 34th minute penalty, but he made amends four min­utes later when Nick Ti­money was pinged and the half ended with Ul­ster lead­ing 13-9.

Al­lan put the Ital­ians one point be­hind with a 50th minute penalty, be­fore a mix-up from a Paul Mar­shall box kick saw new cap Schalk van der Merwe pass straight to Robert Bar­bieri who ac­cepted the score. Al­lan con­verted the 56th minute try and Ul­ster now trailed 19-13.

Yet af­ter turn­ing down a kick­able penalty to only see their rolling maul held up, Ul­ster’s Leali­ifano nailed a 63rd minute penalty from long range.

Sub Mary Banks then slot­ted a 73rd-minute penalty to push the Ital­ians into a 22-16 lead which looked as if it could repli­cate their win in Belfast back in 2011. Then, with the clock nearly in red, Ul­ster came again, with Trim­ble surg­ing over and Leali­ifano adding the vi­tal con­ver­sion.

Chris­tian Leali­ifano: he con­verted An­drew Trim­ble’s 78th-minute try

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