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Match Report | Saracens 03 Ulster 33

Match Report | Saracens 03 Ulster 33

Ulster produced a fantastic performance in both attack and defence to topple three-time European champions Saracens at the Honourable Artillery Company grounds in London in their second, and last, pre-season friendly.

Dan McFarland’s men scored five tries and limited their hosts to a solitary penalty.

Ulster survived early pressure from the home side with Ireland winger Robert Baloucoune saving a try as he prevented Saracens flanker Ben Earle grounding the ball over the line following a powerful driving maul after five minutes.

Nick Timoney – a try scorer on his Ireland debut in the summer – marked his return to Ulster colours with the game’s opening score on 11 minutes.

Ulster gained territory with a well-judged 50/22 kick by Billy Burns which under the new rules means Ulster got the line out in Saracens 22.

The home side stopped the maul but from the resulting scrum conceded a penalty. John Cooney tried to take it quickly but was stopped illegally by Saracens lock Nick Isiekwe, which earned the lock a yellow card.

Ulster went to the corner from the penalty, the pack drove close to the line, before Timoney came on the crash ball to surge over from close range and Cooney converted.

Ulster made their numerical advantage count again on 17 minutes. Strong carries from Stewart Moore and Mick Kearney got Ulster over the gain line. Cooney and Burns combined to release Michael Lowry, the full back flung it wide, and Craig Gilroy had enough strength to touch down with Cooney adding the conversion.

Saracens opened their account on 25 minutes with a simple penalty from Alex Lozowski.

Saracens were reduced to 14 men again two minutes later as centre Nick Tomkins was sin binned for a tip tackle on Brad Roberts.

Ulster missed an opportunity to increase their lead before the interval. Hume caught Burns kick and cut inside, but Moore knocked on the try scoring pass and Dan McFarland’s side went into the break with a 14-3 lead.

Ulster increased their lead nine minutes after the restart. The pack made the yards with some big carries before Cooney fed Angus Curtis and the centre was able to evade tackles from Earle and Sean Maitland to get over the try line. Cooney converted.

Gilroy went over for his second try on 55 minutes.

Kearney, Callum Reid and Greg Jones were all stopped short of the line following good carries. Ethan McIlroy was able to spin out of a tackle and release Gilroy who squeezed over in the corner with Angus Curtis converting.

Following a sustained period of pressure in the Saracens 22, Ulster forced a penalty and went to the corner and, from the lineout, the forwards set up a driving maul that powered over with Marcus Rea touching down. But Curtis failed to convert.

Even with John Andrew being sin binned on 75 minutes, Ulster’s 14 men were able to repel Saracens attacks and keep their try line intact.

Full-time score: Saracens 03 Ulster 33


Ethan McIlroy



Pens: A Lozowski


Tries: N Timoney; C Gilroy (2); A Curtis; Marcus Rea
Cons: J Cooney (3); A Curtis