Pienaar inspires Ulster win
October 26, 2012
Ruan Pienaar scored 21 points against the Dragons
© PA Photos
Ruan Pienaar led Ulster to a 46-19 victory over the Dragons on Friday night.
The Irish province made it eight wins from eight this season to pile the misery on the struggling Dragons, who still have just Zebre beneath them in the table. The visitors ran in six tries and Pienaar, who scored one of them, added 16 points with the boot for a comprehensive win.
Ulster, whose matchday squad included nine players who will be with Ireland in the autumn, headed into the game fresh from a perfect start to their Heineken Cup campaign while the Dragons were attempted to forget a nightmare opening in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The hosts have a formidable record against Ireland's northern province, who had won just once on their travels to Newport since 2006. Yet this is a different Ulster and the confident visitors were one try away from a bonus point at half-time, albeit with a slim three-point lead.
The Dragons made a sharp start and led 6-0 thanks to a brace of early penalties by full-back Tom Prydie. However, the leaders struck back on 16 minutes when Pienaar made a break inside the hosts' 22 and offloaded for Ireland prop Tom Court to go under the posts, making the South African's conversion an easy one.
An entertaining half then swung back the Dragons' way thanks to a converted try by Samoan centre Andy Tuilagi, then back to Ulster with number eight Nick Williams' close range score.
Prydie slotted a penalty to inch the hosts back in front only to then see his clearance charged down by Pienaar, who dived on the ball over the line for Ulster's third try. He was wide with the conversion, just as he had been with a pair of penalty attempts, and the leaders had to be content with a 19-16 lead at the break.
However, Pienaar made no mistake from the tee when he slotted over a pair of early penalties after the restart to one from Prydie. And it was all over entering the final quarter thanks to tries by centre Darren Cave, from close in, and wing Andrew Trimble, who intercepted on halfway before dashing between the posts.
Pienaar converted both for a 39-19 lead before replacement centre Jared Payne added to the Dragons' woes with a try at the death.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Red cards, uncontested scrums, end-of-season wobbles and schoolboy errors - the Monday Maul looks back over the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures includes puffed players, dismissed players and training in the snow
The new European competition is now a reality and rugby will be better as a result. John Taylor looks at the deal as the dust settles