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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 December 2006, 19:16 GMT
Ulster 20-10 Connacht
Action from Ulster v Connacht at Ravenhill
Ulster's Kevin Maggs is tackled by Mark McHugh of Munster

Ulster (3) 20
Tries: Bowe (2), N Best
Con: Wallace
Pen: Humphreys

Connacht (3) 10
Try: Fogarty
Con: McHugh
Drop-goal: Warwick

Tommy Bowe scored two tries to home in on the Magners League record as leaders Ulster ground out an important win over Connacht at Ravenhill.

The Ireland winger powered over on the right twice in the second half and is now just three tries short of Denis Hickie's record of 25 touchdowns.

In between Connacht hooker John Fogarty finished off a fine driving maul to tie the contest at 10-10.

Ulster got a third try through Neil Best but missed out on a bonus score.

With the second-placed Ospreys beating the Scarlets, Ulster's win takes them seven points clear at the top of the table although they have played two games more.

Ulster now face a run of away games, starting with Leinster on Sunday, the last match at Lansdowne Road before the famous old stadium is redeveloped.

And director of rugby Mark McCall believes Ulster will have to do better if they are to win in Dublin.

"We got the four points but are not happy about the performance," he said.

"Our line-out did not fire and we did not get a lot of the ball.

"What ball we did get we did not use well in the first half."

Connacht opened the scoring with a snap drop goal from centre Paul Warwick after three minutes, and they held on to their slender lead for another 17 minutes before David Humphreys levelled the scores with a penalty.

Paddy Wallace, a half-time substitute for Humphreys, made an immediate impact by setting up Bowe's opening try with long pass which released the winger.

Wallace converted from the right touchline to give Ulster a 10-3 lead after 49 minutes.

Connacht refused to lie down and an irresistible line-out maul saw skipper Fogarty get the touchdown which was converted by McHugh to tie the scores at 10-10.

Seven minutes later Bowe broke two tackles to score in the right corner again.

Wallace was short with the conversion but Best's 75th-minute score, from a line-out maul, gave Ulster an advantage they refused to surrender.

Ulster: Cunningham, Bartholomeusz, Steinmetz, Maggs, Trimble, Humphreys, Campbell, J. Fitzpatrick, Shields, S. Best, Harrison, Barker, N. Best, McMillan, Wilson.
Replacements: R. Best, B. Young, McCullough, Dawson, Boss, Wallace, Bowe.

Connacht: Riordan, Matthews, Warwick, Williams, Yapp, McHugh, Keane, Wilkinson, Fogarty, Sturgess, Gannon, Farley, J. Muldoon, Ofisa, Rigney.
Replacements: Flavin, Diffley, Swift, Lacey, O'Loughlin, Hearty, Robinson.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)



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15 Dec 06 |  Irish


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