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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Ulster sneak past Llanelli
Ulster scrum-half Neil Doak scored after only 43 seconds
Neil Doak Bursts clear for the opening try of the game
Celtic League - Pool A
Ulster 16-9 Llanelli

Ulster trundled to the knock-out stages of the Celtic League with a hard-fought victory over Llanelli in atrocious conditions at Ravenhill on Friday evening.

Driving rain made for little enterprising rugby and it was the kicking of both fly-halves that dominated the proceedings.

In the end it was Ulster's David Humphreys who came out on top with two penalties, a conversion and a second-half dropped goal.

Ulster could not have had a better start against a strong wind and rain when they charged ahead after only 43 seconds on the clock.

  Match details:
Ulster 16 (7)
Tries: Doak
Pens: Humphreys (2)
Cons: Humphreys
Dg: Humphreys
Llanelli 9 (6)
Pens: Jones (3)
Stephen Jones attempted a long flat pass to his threequarters only for Neil Doak to nip in and sprint 70 metres to the try line with Humphreys adding the simple conversion.

Jones quickly atoned for his indiscretion when he rifled over a penalty in the eighth minute and a real blockbuster from the half-way line seven minutes later.

Both Jones and Humphreys missed chances with the boot as the game became very scrappy in the conditions, although the Llanelli pack were just edging the battle up front.

With conditions under foot treacherous, the scrums were a bit of a lottery with both front-rows in trouble with the Scottish referee John Hogg.

Humphreys began the second half by missing two more penalties while the fly-half watched a fairly easy dropped goal attempt fly across the posts.

After Llanelli had soaked up the pressure it was left to Jones to ease the Welshmen ahead for the first time in the 52nd minute with his third penalty from in front of the posts.

Llanelli's Chris Wyatt just beats Ulster Gary Longwell to the ball
Wyatt and Longsell battle in the line-out

But Ulster were back in front six minutes later when Llanelli prop Iestyn Thomas was yellow-carded for illegal use of the boot and Humphreys tapped over a simple penalty.

The same player was beginning to find his range and after good work by his pack he popped over a dropped goal in the 62nd minute.

It was Humphreys again in the 66th minute when Llanelli were again penalised and he rifled over a penalty from wide out on the left.

That opened the necessary daylight between the sides with Humphreys playing the percentages and keeping Llanelli pegged deep in their own half.

The Welsh visitors could do little to venture upfield and it was Ulster who hung on to gain revenge over Llanelli - the only team to defeat them at Ravenhill last season.

Ulster: Bryn Cunningham; James Topping; Shane Stewart, Adam Larkin, Scott Young; David Humphreys, Neil Doak; Justin Fitzpatrick, Matt Sexton, Robbie Kempson, Gary Longwell, Mark Blair, Warren Brosnihan, Neil McMillan, Tony McWhirter.
Reps: Neil Best for McWhirter (74), Sheldon Coulter for Topping (39).

Llanelli: Garan Evans, Mark Jones, Matthew Watkins, Salesi Finau, Taliesin Selley, Stephen Jones, Guy Easterby; Iestyn Thomas, Robin McBryde, John Davies, Luke Gross, Chris Wyatt, Dave Hodges, Dafydd Jones, Scott Quinnell.
Reps: Martyn Madden for Thomas (74).

Referee: John Hogg (SRU).

Llanelli coach Gareth Jenkins
"I'm disappointed and frustrated"

The final



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