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Ulster: 30 (13) Edinburgh Rugby: 0 (0)

Folk who think that business travel is glamorous don't do much of it.  Getting stuck at Heathrow, as I did last night when my connecting flight home was delayed two hours, is not a great use of one's time.  But you learn to adopt a Zen-like state of perfect inner calm.  There's no point getting worked up as it will change nothing.  I'm beginning to feel the same way about the Embramen.

My delayed flight allowed me to follow most of this match on Twitter.  By the end of it, my status as a Zen master was under severe pressure.  Looking at the way Edinburgh are playing these days, I am reminded of Yogi Berra's famous saying "It's like deja vu all over again". Their cluelessness and desperately limited gameplan reminds me more and more of life under the ancien regime.  Indeed, one sometimes wonders whether coach Alan Solomons will one of these days pull off a mask and be revealed to be, in fact, Michael Bradley.  If things don't improve soon, the current coaching team may find themselves out the door in similar fashion. 

I'm all for earning the right to go wide.  But usually one expects the boys actually to go wide at some point.  Once again, the Embra outside backs saw very little of the ball.  Part of it was down to execution, but it was primarily tactical.  And even the execution of the limited gameplan, notably the kick chase, is desperate.  I'm sorry, but that is not the way to win matches these days.  Awful stuff. 

All the more frustrating as Ulster, smarting after their failure against Zebre last weekend, looked very loose in the damp conditions. They were psychologically vulnerable and the crowd seemed subdued.  But the home side really didn't have to do much to run away with this one.  A better side would have done. For Embra, there were at least some useful individual performances by the likes of Tonks, bustling at full back, while Burleigh, playing out of position at 10, looks like he could combine well with Matt Scott as a creative pairing in the centres.  But Edinburgh don't do creative these days, so we may never see it.

After a desperately dull opening ten minutes, Ulster really should have scored after Jackson released his outside backs off decent lineout ball in the red zone.  The Gunners were fortunate that a knock on denied the home side the try.  They immediately gave up a penalty at the resulting defensive scrummage, with Andress looking under some pressure.  Jackson converted the chance for a 3-0 lead to the Ulstermen.

Shortly afterwards, Tonks' lovely flip on the wing  put Visser sprinting into the red zone but the support play was too slow in getting there and Best turned the ball over, as he did to good effect throughout this match.  Off the clearing kick on 17 minutes, Jackson clearly took Tonks out in the air gathering the high ball.  It was a clear card but the home stand-off was fortunate indeed to stay on the park.  Crime paid doubly as Cuthbert missed the long penalty attempt.

Bresler gave away a penalty on 23 minutes making no attempt whatsoever to roll away in the tackle.  The erractic Jackson botched the straightforward kick.  But two missed tackles on McCloskey in midfield saw him burst through and put Trimble over for a good try on 25 minutes, Jackson succeeding with the boot for a 10-0 lead.  The home playmaker came off with a blood injury shortly afterwards, replaced temporarily by Holding.

The Kingspan stadium looks impressive.  I especially like the terracing areas in front of the new stands.  But the surface cut up badly under the scrummage.  Ulster coped much better, though, and had the visiting pack under a great deal of pressure.  A further home penalty following some useful pressure saw them a comfortable, and deserved, 13-0 up at the break. The score was all the more irritating as the Gunners' defence seemed to be coping well with repeated Ulster attacks in the enemy 22, before Roddy Grant gave away an unnecessary penalty on the floor.

Ulster started the second half playng some good stuff in an a dangerous position, with Jackson really attacking the gainline, but Edinburgh defended well and eventually forced a turnover by Tonks.  And at last the Embramen had some attacking field position of their own.  But the phase ball was noticeably slower than Ulster's had been, albeit they forced a penalty for offside, which they kicked to the corner.  Grant was held up over the line.  Kennedy was called for a squint feed and the chance was lost.  It was not a great night overall for the young scrummie, whose box kicking was consistently too long, while his service from the ruck was extremely laboured.

On 55 minutes, Bowe was clean over but denied by a forward pass.  Ulster didn't need to wait long for their second try of the night, though.   Burleigh was lucky not to be carded lying all over the ball just shy of his own line with Ulster pressing.  Ulster kicked to the corner and Coman infringed to take down the maul.  He can have had little compaint when he was carded, having just been warned by the referee.  Again, Ulster kicked to the corner.  Another penalty, another kick to the corner.  This time, Williams dived round the blindside of the ruck for a try that had been coming for a while.  Less than 20 minutes left and it was game over with Ulster 18-0 up.

Du Preez was fortunate not to be carded on 67 minutes with a silly ruck infringeement.  But Best scored off the subsequent attacking lineout at the back of the speeding maul.  If one was being picky, two men in front of him disengaged and re-engaged en route, but it was a well constructed try - 25-0 going into the final ten minutes.

The bonus point try duly came on 75 minutes.  Du Preez rescued ball at a creaking defensive scrummage but was pinged for holding on.  Ulster kicked to the corner and Edinburgh infringed.  This time, Ulster wisely took the scrum.  Marshall's long pass off the base found Trimble on the wing for another well-taken score.  30-0 the final score.. 

If things don't look up soon, we will be writing this season off as another development exercise even before we're knocked out of European competition. 

 MAN OF THE MATCH: A fine performance from the old warhorse, RORY BEST.