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THREE AND EASY AT THE CASTLE

Edinburgh: 24 (14) Ulster: 10 (3)



On a night when Murrayfield was hosting the 12th Annual Global Total Quality Management Conference, there was a fair bit of that sort of thing in evidence in Edinburgh's performance.  They dispatched visiting Ulster with some ease, never looking particularly threatened.  With a solid set piece (Andy "Ned" Kelly and Ben Gissing combining particularly well at the lineout) and Ross Rennie reigning supreme at the breakdown, Edinburgh were in control throughout.

One of the exciting things about the Edinburgh back division is that it will shortly be further strengthened by the return of Mike "Blade" Blair, Hugo and Simon Webster.  If his rehab continues to go well, maybe even Tom "Tank" Philip will make a most welcome comeback too.  But these guys will have to go some to edge out the current incumbents.  While Turnbull had another fantastic game on the wing, once again the back three in particular looked dangerous, with both de Luca and Maxwell buccaneering in attack and solid in defence.  Ben Meyer continues to impress at scrum half.

Turnbull and Maxwell had threatened in the opening exchanges.  So it was no surprise when, off an alertly taken quick lineout at half way by de Luca, Turnbull's silky sevens skills saw the tiny winger navigating heavy traffic into the enemy 22.  It looked like he could elude full back Cunningham, but instead he put Houston away for a fine try under the posts, Godman converting.

Ten minutes later, a brilliant Godman cross kick was gathered well by de Luca.  The full back released Turnbull once again.  Only a high tackle a metre short of the line stopped him, and as Edinburgh frantically tried to dig the ball out with Ulster hands all over the ball on the floor, the referee nipped under the posts to award the penalty try, again goaled by Godman for a 14-0 half time lead.

The lead was well deserved.  for although Ulster had had some pressure at times, Edinburgh's defence had coped comfortably, with Rennie turning over ball on several occasions.

The Ulster attack was looking pretty blunt, clearly missing the master, David "Humph" Humphreys, at 10.  However, scrum half Campbell was lively and at least his half back partner, O'Connor, managed to convert a penalty on 43 minutes after Rennie had been pinged for not rolling away in the tackle. 

Ten minutes later, though, Edinburgh killed the game.  As another Ulster attack broke down, a fly hack down the right wing saw Turnbull's extraordinary pace beating the cover for an alert try, confirmed by the TMO - a new feature for televised Magners games this season.  Warnock's conversion put Edinburgh 21-3 in front with an hour on the clock.

Ulster did narrow the lead slightly, with substitute Mark Bartholomeusz showing good vision to take advantage of a gap in midfield to score under the posts, O'Connor converting.  But Warnock's penalty on 74 minutes left the final score 24-10 to the home side.

After all the off-season shenanigans, possibly the most encouraging thing about this game - if correct - was the attendance: 3,500, although the crowd didn't appear to be that big.   Given that Ulster somehow managed to beat the Ospreys last week, Edinburgh should be looking forward to the visit of the Welsh side next week with some confidence.

MEN OF THE MATCH: Andy Turnbull (Magners); Ross Rennie (Match Sponsors - Jobs@Pertemps)

SCORERS:

Edinburgh: Godman: 2C, Warnock 1C, 1P, Turbull 1T, Houston 1T, Penalty 1T

Ulster: O'Connor 1P 1C, Bartholomeusz 1T

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: De Luca, A. Turnbull, Cairns, Houston, Maxwell, Godman, Meyer, Allori, Kelly, G. Cross, Hamilton, Gissing, Mustchin, Rennie, S. Cross.
Ulster: Cunningham, McCrea, Bowe, Mallon, Danielli, O'Connor, Campbell, J. Fitzpatrick, Brady, Court, Harrison, Caldwell, McCullough, Pollock, Wilson.

Referee: Jones (WRU)