Despite a gutsy display of rugby from Newport Gwent Dragons they unfortunately missed out on their third home win of the season.
In their last Guinness PRO12 match before the European Challenge Cup tournament begins, the Welsh Region struggled to get the all-important win against Ulster despite leading the game for the majority of play.
The Dragons began the match well dominating the first quarter at Rodney Parade. With 20 minutes on the clock the Men of Gwent were firmly in the lead with three successful penalties from fly half Dorian Jones.
The Men of Gwent were fully in control of the first quarter as they stretched into the lead, whilst Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey was penalised for tripping a Dragons player.
However Ulster soon found their feet in Newport as Paddy Jackson had a chance at adding points to board and before half time he kicked over 6 points.
Half Time: Newport Gwent Dragons 9 – Ulster 6
The second half saw the rain come in over Rodney Parade and Ulster appeared to enjoy the weather by controlling the opening minutes of the second half.
When Dragons Skipper Rynard Landman was sin binned for entering the ruck illegally, it was Ulster who made the most of their advantage.
They used the scrum to their advantage by pushing the hosts back to their try line however the Ulster tactic didn’t work as scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius extracts the ball and kick it away to relieve pressure.
It was Ulster who managed to get the only try of the afternoon as Paul Marshall got away from the defence as crossed the whitewash. Jackson converted the try and it pushed the visitors into the lead 13-9.
The Dragons now saw that they needed a try of their own to close the gap and opted for the corner rather than kicking for the posts. But a great defensive effort from the opposition saw the Dragons knock the ball on.
Their next attempt was one at the posts, as replacement Jason Tovey brought the two teams within one point of each other and with Ulster now down to 14 men this was the time to take their chance.
However it was Ulster who were awarded a penalty kick, but Jackson missed. When the opposition awarded another penalty to the fly-half, he made no mistake and knocked the ball over the posts.
Ulster weren’t finished their with points though after another penalty was kicked over the posts to make it 19-12 to the visitors.
The hosts came back with all they could give, and it took some determined defence to hold off the Dragons. It looked like the Welsh Region made it over the white wash after Landman’s return. However referee Dudley Phillips checked and deemed that the Skipper was held up.
Once again the Dragons attempted to battle their way over the white wash but after a 5m scrum and a driving lineout their attempts failed to reap any reward, with the final whistle being blown.
Full Time: Newport Gwent Dragons 19 – Ulster 12
Newport Gwent Dragons: Carl Meyer; Ashton Hewitt, Adam Hughes, Adam Warren, Nick Scott; Dorian Jones, Sarel Pretorius; Boris Stankovich, Elliot Dee, Shaun Knight; Cory Hill, Rynard Landman (c), Ed Jackson, Ollie Griffiths, Taulupe Faletau.
Ulster: Peter Nelson; Rory Scholes, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Sam Arnold; Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; Kyle McCall, Rob Herring (captain), Wiehahn Herbst; Dan Tuohy, Franco van der Merwe; Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Stephen Mulholland.
Man of the Match: Ollie Griffiths
Referee: Dudley Phillips