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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 19:09 GMT
Ulster hold on for victory
Edinburgh 21-27 Ulster

CELTIC CUP FINAL
Ulster's Rob Kempson and Rowan Frost tie up Scott Murray
Edinburgh 21
Tries: Webster, Lee, Blair
Cons: Paterson 3
Ulster 27
Tries: Best, Frost
Con: Humphreys
Pens: Humphreys 5
Att: 17,174
Ulster are the first winners of the Celtic Cup following a nerve-tingling victory over Edinbrugh at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Tries by Neil Best, Rowan Frost and 17 points from the boot of David Humphreys gave the Ulstermen their first trophy since the 1999 European Cup success.

But they had a scare after Edinburgh stormed back in the second-half when Chris Paterson converted tries by Simon Webster, Derrick Lee and Mike Blair.

Ulster ran the show in the opening period, but it was a different Edinburgh in the second half as they found belief in themselves to make Ulster sweat right to the end.

Ulster could not have wished to get off to a better start going 13 points ahead in as many minutes in what was a brilliant first-half performance.

Two early penalties by Humphreys settled his side, and after they withstood an Edinburgh backlash with some first-time, rugged tackling, they scored the opening try of the game in the 14th minute.

Humphreys put up a towering kick and Edinburgh winger Simon Webster had the ball dislodged by a tackle from Shane Stewart. Tyrone Howe hacked the ball ahead and it was flanker Best who dived on the loose ball.

But Ulster had to resort to some frentic, but very efficient defence as Edinburgh began to up the pace in the second quarter.

Ulster fly-half David Humphreys captained Ulster to European Cup success in 1999
Man-of-the-match David Humphreys kicked 17 points for Ulster
However, their pressure went unrewarded after Paterson saw a penalty rebound clear off the crossbar.

Instead they fell further behind when following a break out from defence by Best, Humphreys landed his third penalty.

Ulster surged into a 21-0 half-time lead with their second try in the 32nd minute when after a line-out take by Frost, the pack drove the big lock over the line.

Edinburgh looked more assured at the start of the second half and finally got on the scoreboard when a break and kick ahead by Lee saw Webster swoop in to touchdown with Paterson converting.

It was Lee who gave Edinburgh a further boost with a great burst of speed to the line after Brendan Laney had made the initial break.

Humphreys landed his fourth penalty a minute from the end, before Edinburgh skipper Todd Blackadder made the move that led to Blair grabbing try number three at the start of injury time.

But it was Ulster who finished the stronger in dying embers of the game time by killing off a great Edinburgh fightback with Humphreys rifling over another penalty with the last kick of the game.


Ulster: P Wallace; J Topping; S Stewart, P Steinmetz, T Howe; D Humphreys, N Doak; R Kempson, M Sexton, S Best, R Frost, M Mustchin, A Ward (capt), N Best, R Wilson.
Replacements: P Shields, R Moore, M McCullough, W Brosnihan, K Campbell, A Larkin, B Cunningham.

Edinburgh: D Lee, S Webster, M Di Rollo, B Laney, C Joiner, C Paterson, M Blair, A Jacobsen, D Hall, R Mathieson, N Hines, S Murray, T Blackadder (capt), S Cross, S Taylor.
Replacements: A Kelly, C Smith, A Kellock, A Hogg, G Burns, A Dickson, H Southwell.

Referee: Nigel Williams (Wales).




SEE ALSO
Humphreys clear for final
13 Dec 03  |  Irish
Solomons delight after Ulster win
13 Dec 03  |  European Club
Ulster comeback stuns Stade
12 Dec 03  |  European Club


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