Edinburgh 7Ulster 29
Lewis Stuart reports from Murrayfield
ULSTER BOUNCED BACK in style from their recent disappointments to secure a home quarter-final it the Guinness Pro14 as they won comfortably against error-strewn Edinburgh at the home of Scottish rugby.
Dan McFarland’s men secured the scoring bonus point late in the game but by then had already done more than enough to settle a result that, with Benetton Treviso also losing at home to Munster, secured second spot in their conference and that vital home tie.
There had never been any hiding for either side in this game, the winner was likely to make the play-offs and a guaranteed place in the Heineken Champions Cup next season; the loser still had the chance of a play-off for that key spot in Europe but could still be depending on other results.
Kieran Treadwell on the march. Source: Craig Watson/INPHO
It was the Irish who settled more quickly, their nerves eased by an early penalty from John Cooney as Edinburgh looked a bit dazed by the stress they were under.
With the home side making the more mistakes, Stuart McCloskey got his side up to the home goal line with a chip into space and when the ball went loose, Jordi Murphy was first to react, scooping up the ball and diving over for the opening try.
The conversion from Cooney meant they had a 10-point cushion before Edinburgh had fired a shot in anger and there was more joy for the Irish when Jaco van der Walt missed his first shot at goal as the Scots hammered their way back into the game.
The reward came on the stroke of half-time when Billy Burns fired out a huge pass to Robert Baloucoune, the speedster on the wing, who had enough room to go around home full-back Darcy Graham and make it in to score in the corner.