RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster boost title hopes with gutsy win at Leinster
Ulster won for the first time at Leinster since 1999, Robbie Diack and Iain Henderson crossing in a 22-18 victory.
Last Updated: 30/03/13 9:06pm
The hosts had to absorb some early pressure but took the lead through Ian Madigan's two penalties.
Ulster responded as Nick Williams charged onto Dan Tuohy's inviting pass and Paddy Jackson then flung the ball out wide for Diack to score in the left corner.
Ruan Pienaar was unable to convert and Madigan replied for Leinster in the 26th minute, splitting the posts from outside the 22 after Ulster were pinged at a scrum.
Leinster's well-organised defence held Ulster in check until replacement Andrew Conway was caught offside from a kick ahead and Pienaar nailed the resulting penalty.
Ulster's discipline let them down at times and Williams was whistled up for not rolling away quickly enough in injury-time, leading to Madigan's fourth successful penalty of the night.
Increased pressure on the Ulster scrum saw Leinster resume on the front foot with Madigan adding another three-pointer to their total.
Pienaar, with the breeze now behind him, cancelled that kick out with a crisp penalty strike from distance and gave Ulster further momentum with a sure-footed 57th minute kick from the right.
After a defence-dominated third quarter, Ulster began to make headway and when Andrew Trimble was brought down just short of the whitewash in the 62nd minute, a quick recycle allowed Pienaar to put replacement Henderson over in the right corner.
The South African failed to add the extras and with their scrum giving way, Madigan split the posts to cut the gap to a single point.
Conway conceded a needless penalty when he tackled Jackson in the air as he gathered a kick, and Pienaar stepped up to make it 22-18.
Time was not on Leinster's side and having turned down a late kickable penalty, the hosts put their faith in their solid set-piece.
It was not enough in the end as despite giving away penalties within scoring range, Ulster - with Rory Best leading by example - defiantly held on for a precious win in Dublin.