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Sunday, 6 January, 2002, 17:50 GMT
Wasps edge out Ulster
Wasps captain Mark Denney scores the first try of the day against Ulster
Mark Denney dives over for the first try of the day
Wasps 36-32 Ulster

Alex King kicked the points that carried Wasps to victory over Ulster in the Heineken Cup.

The win avenged last October's 42-19 humilation in Ireland, and all but ended Ulster's slim hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

King scored 21 points in all with a penalty two minutes from time sealing the win at Loftus Road.

The early points were all from the boot as the kicking dual between the two stand-offs, King and Ulster's Irish international David Humphreys, developed.

  Scores and scorers
Wasps 36
Tries: Mark Denney, Shane Roiser & Fraser Waters
Cons: Alex King (3)
Pens: King (5)

Ulster 32
Tries: Andy Ward & Ryan Constable
Cons: Paddy Wallace (2)
Pens: David Humphreys (2) & Wallace (3)
Drop goal: Wallace
The head-to-head stood at two apiece when Ulster's hopes were hit by Humphrey's departure with injury.

The Irish fly-half sustained an ankle injury shortly after Wasps scored the opening try of the afternoon, captain Mark Denney racing over under the posts.

"The initial feeling was we could get him through to half-time," said Ulster coach Alan Solomons. "He was limping and had to go off."

King kept the scoreboard ticking over with a brace of penalties, before Wasps stretched their lead even further with a Shane Roiser try.

The winger ran the length of the pitch to touch down after 33 minutes, King adding the extras from the boot.

The host's took their 14-point lead into the interval after King and Paddy Wallace, who took over Ulster's kicking responsibilities, exchanged penalties.

However, the Ulster points prior to the break were small respite from the Wasps onslaught and Fraser Waters crossed after the break.

Another successful King conversion gave Wasps a commanding 33-12 lead.

But slowly and surely Ulster ate into the lead, Wallace landing a third penalty on 53 minutes, before the visitors scored a first try.

Four minutes later the 1999 European champions broke down the left in a move that ended with skipper Andy Ward scoring.

And on 63 minutes Ulster again breached the Wasps defence, as former Saracens player Ryan Constable broke down the field.

Alex King slots some more points
King slots some more points
Wallace's conversion cut the lead to just four points, and when Ian Jones was sent to the sin-bin with 10 minutes remaining it seemed as if Ulster would pull off an improbable comeback.

However, despite being reduced to 14 men, Wasps held firm.

They only conceded a Wallace drop goal, before King converted his eighth kick of the day to open up a four point gap with time running out.

Although he was more than happy with his side's performance, Wasps director of rugby Nigel Melville was criticial with the choice of referee Giovanni van Morandin - an Italian who cannot speak English.

"When there's 30 guys on the field who speak English and one who doesn't, there's something wrong," said Melville.

Wasps: Leek, Roiser, Waters, Denney, Roberts, A. King, Wood, Dowd, Leota, W. Green, Shaw, Jones, Beardshaw, Volley, Lock.
Replacements: Burrill, Barratt, Scrase, Allen, S. Green, Mackenzie.

Ulster: Wallace, Coulter, Larkin, J. Bell, Howe, Humphreys, Doak, Fitzpatrick, Shields, Best, Johns, Longwell, McWhirter, Ward, Nelson.
Replacements: K. Campbell, Constable, B. Cunningham, Davidson, Boyd, McMillen, Crick.

Referee: G Morandin (Italy).

BBC rugby union correspondent Ian Robertson
"This is a bad result for Ulster"
Ulster coach Alan Solomons
"We gifted them 14 points"
Ulster's Paddy Wallace
"We let ourselves down in the first half"
Ulster winger Tyrone Howe
"We can hold our heads high"
See also:

02 Jan 02 |  Rugby Union
Stewart back on the sidelines
02 Nov 01 |  Heineken Cup
Ulster stun Stade with late try
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