High jumper Ul­ster douse Dragon’s fire with 36-18 win

Ire­land in­ter­na­tional Iain Hen­der­son rises high­est to claim a li­ne­out ball dur­ing last night’s Guin­ness Pro14 game against the Dragons at Kingspan Sta­dium. PHO­TO­GRAPH: TOMMY DICKSON/INPHO Out-of-sorts Con­nacht beaten by last minute Ospreys try –

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL SADLIER at the Kingspan Sta­dium

Af­ter their trou­bles in the league, this was a sig­nif­i­cant mo­rale booster for Ul­ster who also man­aged to pro­duce their first try-bonus win of the sea­son to boot.

In­deed, it was the north­ern prov­ince’s first Pro14 vic­tory since the win over the Kings back in mid-Sep­tem­ber so no bet­ter time to rack up five tries as a strong Ul­ster side – with Rory Best, Iain Hen­der­son, Jordi Mur­phy and new Ir­ish squad mem­ber Will Ad­di­son all start­ing – downed Bernard Jack­man’s Dragons as ex­pected.

Stu­art McCloskey also marked his re­turn to the ex­panded Ire­land squad with two sec­ond-half tries to sup­ple­ment the ear­lier ones scored by Henry Speight, Dave Shana­han and the im­pres­sive Michael Lowry.

Johnny McPhillips also looked sharp on his first start this sea­son at out­half and kicked 11 points.

It didn’t take long for Ul­ster to get go­ing with McPhillips’s early penalty be­ing added to on 11 min­utes by a well-worked try from Henry Speight which was con­verted by the No 10.

Ja­son Tovey pulled a penalty back for the Dragons but Ul­ster them came again with Ad­di­son scorch­ing through a gap to put Shana­han over un­op­posed. McPhillips added the two points to the 22nd-minute score and Ul­ster were 17-3 ahead.

Again the Dragons came back and, off a scrum, flanker Tay­lor bar­relled over on the half hour af­ter some good ap­proach work by Adam War­ren.

Tovey’s con­ver­sion nar­rowed the home side’s lead to 17-10 and they scored again from Tovey’s 37th minute penalty af­ter some hard driv­ing near Ul­ster’s line led to the in­evitable penalty.

Hen­der­son then made a huge surge up-field to help cre­ate the half-chance for Lowry which the full-back took to nail Ul­ster’s third try on half-time.

Nine minute af­ter the restart, Ul­ster had their try bonus when McCloskey was put in by McPhillips.

Cen­tre Jar­ryd Sage smashed over for the Dragons from close range for an un­con­verted try in the 67th minute and though they had a num­ber of chances to score again it was Ul­ster who got the last touch­down when Kieran Tread­well’s gut-bust­ing run put McCloskey un­der the posts for his sec­ond which McPhillips con­verted.

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