Ulster 24-18 Edinburgh: Hodge’s men have no answer

Damien Hoyland was among the Edinburgh try-scorers but Duncan Hodge's side were second best to Ulster. Picture Ian Rutherford
Damien Hoyland was among the Edinburgh try-scorers but Duncan Hodge's side were second best to Ulster. Picture Ian Rutherford
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All Black Charles Piutau destroyed Edinburgh as Duncan Hodge’s side were unable to seal a double over Ulster.

Magnus Bradbury, Stuart McInally and Damien Hoyland scored tries for Edinburgh, while Sam Hidalgo-Clyne’s penalty earned an unlikely bonus point late on for the visitors.

A blistering display by Ulster’s backs at Ravenhill ensured that all five points were wrapped up by half-time, although Edinburgh will rue a number of missed chances in that period.

It had gotten off to a great start for the Scottish side, who dominated possession from the kick-off and scored in the second minute when Jason Tovey’s flat pass allowed Blair Kinghorn to send Bradbury over in the corner. The levelling score arrived after ten minutes when Stuart Olding’s offload was finished off by Paul Marshall, and Peter Nelson converted. That 7-5 lead was soon 12-7 when Marshall sent Darren Cave over in the corner after 19 minutes.

Edinburgh had a huge chance to pull level in the 22nd minute, but Tovey and Hoyland couldn’t link up when it looked easier to score from close range. That missed chance proved a real turning point as Louis Ludik soon ran in Ulster’s third try, but the unstoppable running of Piutau drew in four defenders.

Seven minutes from the break, Ulster’s bonus-point try arrived down the right when Robbie Diack’s inside pass gave Jacob Stockdale an easy run to the line.

Ulster backs had cut through Edinburgh at every opportunity, but four minutes from the break McInally – a late call-up for Neil Cochrane – scored off the back of a rolling maul to leave it 24-19 at the interval.

Ulster continued to dominate after the break, but Edinburgh managed to get back in the game when Hoyland got in for a try. After Hidalgo-Clyne missed the tough conversion he was on the mark with a penalty 16 minutes from time to earn the losing bonus.