Edinburgh barge past Williams' Ulster
January 9, 2009
Edinburgh lock Jim Hamilton scored their crucial second try at Murrayfield
© Getty Images
Edinburgh inflicted another dose of Murrayfield misery on Matt Williams as they kick-started their quest for the Magners League crown. It was the controversial former Scotland supremo's first visit to the stadium since he was sacked three years ago.
And yet again it proved an unhappy hunting ground for the man who is now at the Ulster helm. Williams and Co had arrived full of confidence in the wake of their shock away success against European champions Munster, but they could not fully recover from two first-half tries by the hosts.
Edinburgh raced off to the ideal start, snatching the lead with less than a minute on the clock. The entire visiting backline were offside as Phil Godman launched a probing cross-kick - and he followed up to calmly slot the penalty from almost 40 minutes.
Even better was to come when Hugo Southwell completed a brilliant move with a try. Andy Turnbull inflicted the initial damage by surging 60 metres from his own 22. The ball was kept alive at pace, giving Ally Hogg the time and space to put Southwell clear. Godman was left with the hardest conversion imaginable, however he made it look simple.
Shell-shocked Ulster broke their duck with a penalty by Ian Humphreys - but Godman replied in identical fashion to preserve the Gunners' advantage. And Edinburgh's enterprise was further rewarded midway through the half with a second touchdown.
A teasing chip from skipper Mike Blair sparked panic among the Ulster back ranks and debutant flanker Roddy Grant underlined his talent by reaching the loose ball first. They recycled quickly - enabling giant lock Jim Hamilton to flop over the line from just a couple of paces out.
The Belfast brigade repaired some of the damage with two more penalties by Humphreys. Edinburgh squandered a spate of chances after the restart and when Humphreys struck again the match was back in the melting pot.
But Godman eased the home jitters by finding the target at the other end. A late Paddy Wallace penalty salvaged a consolation bonus point for Ulster.
Edinburgh: Southwell, A. Turnbull, Cairns, Houston, Webster, Godman, M. Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, G. Cross, C. Hamilton, J. Hamilton, S. Cross, Grant, Hogg.
Replacements: De Luca for Cairns (61), D. Blair for Godman (68), Kelly for Ford (65), Kerr for G. Cross (56), Gissing for J. Hamilton (65), Newlands for Hogg (65). Not Used: Laidlaw.
Ulster: Schifcofske, McCrea, Cave, Wallace, Trimble, Humphreys, Boss, Court, Best, Botha, O'Donoghue, McCullough, Ferris, Pollock, Diack.
Replacements: Cunningham for Cave (67), Steinmetz for Humphreys (69), Marshall for Boss (73), J. Fitzpatrick for Court (50), Brady for Best (68), Dawson for Pollock (62), Paulo for Diack (32).
Ref: Gwynn Morris (Swansea)
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont
Will Genia should lead the Wallabies against the Lions, Joe Tomane to win the final wing spot and Israel Folau at fullback, writes Greg Growden
"Has there ever been such a large disconnect between France's club teams and the international side?" Ian Moriarty weighs up the state of French rugby
"By carrying a Great Britain label to the Antipodes, and getting beaten by the Kiwis, they established a tradition which has lasted to this day." Huw Richards rewinds to 1888