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Edinburgh 21-15 Ulster

Edinburgh (18) 21
Tries: Southwell, Hamilton Con: Godman Pens: Godman 3

Ulster (9) 15
Pens: Humpreys 4, Wallace

By Keir Murray

Hugo Southwell (centre) is congratulated by Mike Blair (left)
Southwell (centre) had a successful night for Edinburgh at Murrayfield

A spirited Edinburgh first-half display earned Andy Robinson's team victory over Ulster at Murrayfield.

Ulster, coached by former Scotland head coach Matt Williams, were kept in the match by Ian Humphreys' fine kicking.

But Edinburgh got off to a flying start with an early penalty from Phil Godman followed by a try by Hugo Southwell.

Edinburgh's second and final try came when Roddy Grant pounced on an error by Mark McCrea in the Ulster defence, and he passed to Jim Hamilton to score.

Edinburgh's first try had the crowd on their feet.

Andrew Turnbull sprinted 30 yards, deep into Ulster's half before being halted and, in a well-worked move across the full width of the pitch, Simon Webster fed Allister Hogg on the left flank, who in turn provided Southwell to score for the hosts.

Ian Humphreys got Ulster on the scoreboard with a penalty before Godman completed a trio of successful penalties to restore the Scots' 10-point advantage.

Minutes later came Edinburgh's second try of the match. A clever ball by Mike Blair created a problem for young McCrea, who misjudged the bounce.

Grant, making his debut for Robinson's side, snatched the ball and forced his way towards the line before unleashing Hamilton for the try. Godman converted the penalty.

The Irishmen struggled to impose themselves on Edinburgh in the opening exchanges, but had Humphreys to thank for keeping them in the game with his precision kicking.

The former Leicester Tigers star converted three first-half penalties, meaning that at half-time, despite Edinburgh's evident appetite for the match, the hosts led by just nine points, 18-9.

The second period saw a much-improved Ulster move the ball around with a degree of urgency, and they were rewarded for their greater endeavour with a penalty for a foul by lock Hamilton.

Once more, stand-off Humphreys reduced the deficit, rifling the ball between the posts to put Ulster within touching distance of Edinburgh.

On 56 minutes Southwell held his nerve to convert another penalty for Robinson's side, but had fleet-footed Paddy Wallace then been able to pass accurately to Andrew Trimble in a break, the tie would have been finely balanced again.

Wallace kicked a last-minute penalty for Ulster to move the visitors to within a try and conversion of Edinburgh but the final whistle blew before they could pressurise the Scots' defensive line.

Edinburgh: Southwell, A. Turnbull, Cairns, Houston, Webster, Godman, M. Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, G. Cross, C. Hamilton, J. Hamilton, S. Cross, Grant, Hogg.
Replacements: De Luca for Cairns (61), D. Blair for Godman (68), Kelly for Ford (65), Kerr for G. Cross (56), Gissing for J. Hamilton (65), Newlands for Hogg (65).

Not Used: Laidlaw.

Ulster: Schifcofske, McCrea, Cave, Wallace, Trimble, Humphreys, Boss, Court, Best, Botha, O'Donoghue, McCullough, Ferris, Pollock, Diack.
Replacements: Cunningham for Cave (67), Steinmetz for Humphreys (69), Marshall for Boss (73), J. Fitzpatrick for Court (50), Brady for Best (68), Dawson for Pollock (62), Paulo for Diack (32).

Attendance: 3,393

Referee: Gwynn Morris (Swansea)

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see also
Edinburgh lose injured Robertson
06 Jan 09 |  Edinburgh
Glasgow 25-20 Edinburgh
02 Jan 09 |  Glasgow
Munster 11-37 Ulster
03 Jan 09 |  Ulster

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