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Second half Ulster silence London Irish

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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A sample of the video evidence used in the discipline hearing following the citing of Stade Francais's Juan Cruz Guillemain - 17/01/2013 11:39

A sample of the video evidence used in the discipline hearing following the citing of Stade Francais's Juan Cruz Guillemain - 17/01/2013 11:39

When Ulster Rugby started out their Heineken Cup campaign with a 30-3 demolition of three-time champions Toulouse in Round 1, who would have thought that by the time Round 4 came along, they would be propping up the Pool table?

Well, that is exactly where they are following defeats to Llanelli Scarlets and London Irish.

The current Magners League champions have lost their way, and although they have another 15 points available to them, are facing an early exit from a competition for which this year they had big ambitions year.

London Irish – although in second place in the Pool – are just one point ahead of the Ulstermen, and will be looking to complete the double over their fellow Irish opponents following a really impressive 29-13 win in Round 3.

Despite Saturday’s bruising encounter against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium, there were no new injury concerns as Ulster try to close the eight point lead held by Llanelli Scarlets at the top of Pool 5.

Mark McCall has named his team to take on London Irish on Friday evening at Ravenhill, kick off 7.30pm. The game which has been a sell out for a number of weeks will see the two sides meet for the second time in 7 days. Ulster will be hoping for a much improved performance and Coach Mark McCall said at the weekly media session, “Our aim on Friday is to deliver a better performance than we did at the weekend, recognise the areas where we need a big, big improvement and improve on those areas and be smarter in the way we play.”

Tommy Bowe is an injury concern. He will have a fitness test today and is likely to be assessed again tomorrow morning. The only definite change on the side is Justin Fitzpatrick who starts at Loosehead Prop while Bryan Young drops to the bench.

Ulster, who are undefeated at Ravenhill this season, and currently top of the Magners League above European rivals Llanelli Scarlets, are still mathematically in with a chance of qualifying for the Quarter Finals of the Heineken Cup. After last year’s home win against Saracens and the famous 33-0 victory over Leicester Tigers in the competition, Ulster will be hoping to make it a hat trick of home wins over English opposition.

Justin Harrison spoke about the defeat to London Irish over the weekend:  “We’re buoyed by the fact the squad was still positive in training. There is no doubt that there was disappointment but it’s coupled with what sport provides you with and that’s challenges. Everyone meets challenges in different ways and the character of the team will come through in Friday’s match.”

To bring in the Christmas period and provide festive cheer to all, Ulster rugby are providing the first 4,000 supporters through the gate for the Heineken Cup return match against London Irish on Friday with Santa hats. The match, a sell-out within days of the tickets going on sale, gives the team a chance to exact some revenge on the Premiership side, after Saturday’s defeat at the Madejski stadium. In receiving your hat, it can also be used for the Boxing Day match against Connacht in the Magners League.

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Second half Ulster silence London Irish

Monday 9th October 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 26/09/1998 14:30

- 26/09/1998 14:30

Veteran David Humphreys tossed aside calls for his retirement to drag Ulster into Heineken Cup contention at Ravenhill on Friday night.

Both sides went into the match with only a faint hope of making the Cup’s final eight, and it was the Exiles fans who watched their dream die as Humphreys pulled a superb match out of his 35-year-old hat.

England Under-21 fly-half Shane Geraghty silenced the home crowd by opening the scoring with a well-struck goal, but Ravenhill hero Humphreys produced a pinpoint kick to give winger Andrew Trimble a try an inch inside the corner flag.

Geraghty had the chance to retake the lead after Ulster scrum-half Isaac Boss was sin-binned for a high tackle on dangerous Exiles winger Delon Armitage, but his effort drifted wide. He made amends a moment later when French referee Christophe Berdos inexplicably penalised the home team at the breakdown, and London Irish took a shaky 6-5 lead into the break.

The match was blasted wide open in the second minute of the second half. Ulster were awarded within kicking range and Humphreys duly took off his trademark headgear as he prepared to kick the three points. Only he didn’t. The veteran fly-half tapped and ran and scored in the corner. His conversion from wide out was simply salt in the wound.

Humphreys added a penalty goal, and replacement flanker Neil McMillan dotted down after a clever Bryn Cunningham chip to give Ulster plenty of breathing space.

And they needed it as Exiles replacement Gonzalo Tiesi brushed aside two tackles to dot down.

London Irish lost influential lock Bob Casey to the sin-bin and New Zealander Paul Steinmetz bagged the bonus-point try to bring the Ravenhill faithful to their feet.

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