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RaboDirect PRO12: Paddy Jackson stars as Ulster beat Connacht

Last updated: 21st September 2013  

Ulster flanker Chris Henry going to ground

Ulster produced a strong second half

PADDY JACKSON ULSTER

Paddy Jackson: Star of the show for Ulster

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Paddy Jackson was the star of the show for Ulster with his 13 second-half points helping the visitors get off the mark for the new season with an 18-7 Irish derby victory over Connacht at a windswept Sportsground.

Ulster earned their first win of the new RaboDirect PRO12 campaign as Jackson put a disappointing first 40 minutes behind him to convert his own 57th minute try and kick two penalties to decide this first Irish interprovincial derby of the season.

The sides scored a try apiece in the opening quarter hour, Ulster winger Michael Allen replying to a try from Dan Parks, whose conversion separated them at the break - 7-5.

But Connacht were held scoreless for the remainder, with man-of-the-match Iain Henderson, who saw action in the second row and back row, and replacement Paul Marshall helping Mark Anscombe's men find an extra gear in their territorially dominant third quarter.

There was precious little space in a frenetically-paced first quarter, but a brief chink of light saw Willie Faloon canter away from a ruck before Jared Payne brought the flanker down.

Connacht kept up the pressure in the 22 and after good carries from Robbie Henshaw and Fionn Carr, Parks stepped off his right and evaded the grasp of front rowers Rob Herring and Declan Fitzpatrick on the way to the line.

Parks turned it into a seven-pointer as he became the first player to score more than 1,500 league points.

Wind behind

Wind-backed Ulster hit back within three minutes though, as Luke Marshall bludgeoned up close to the whitewash and Payne's soft hands put Allen in at the left corner.

Jackson pulled his conversion attempt across the posts and the youngster looked slightly unsettled as he kicked out on the full. From the resulting lineout, Connacht probed and won a penalty outside the 22 which Parks narrowly missed to the right.

Henderson barrelled forward to get Ulster back on track and they teed up a penalty in a similar range to Park's. However, Jackson, who only had a 56% kicking success rate from the past two rounds, slid his effort wide.

Connacht's penalty count spiralled towards double figures - Eoin Griffin the guilty party this time at a ruck - and Jackson mopped up with the three points for a 55th minute lead.

The 21-year-old then started and finished his province's second try, sending a work-hungry Luke Marshall bursting away over halfway. Henshaw got back to bring him down but a quick recycle allowed Payne to put Jackson over to the right of the posts.

With his confidence restored, Jackson added the extras and was narrowly wide with a monster penalty effort entering the final quarter.

Connacht's indiscipline at the breakdown soon gave Jackson a kickable penalty from closer in and he found the target to leave the hosts 11 points adrift with 16 minutes remaining.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - August 29 2014
Pos Team P Pts
12 Zebre 0 0
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Friday 5th September
Guinness PRO12
19:35Munster vs Edinburgh
19:35Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Saturday 6th September
14:40Scarlets vs Ulster
17:00Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons
17:15Glasgow vs Leinster
Sunday 7th September
17:00Zebre vs Cardiff Blues
Friday 12th September
19:35Ulster vs Zebre
19:35Edinburgh vs Connacht
19:35Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys
20:00Benetton Treviso vs Munster
Saturday 13th September
14:40Leinster vs Scarlets
Sunday 14th September
16:00Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow
Friday 19th September
19:30Munster vs Zebre
19:35Connacht vs Leinster
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Ulster
Saturday 20th September
TBCScarlets vs Benetton Treviso
14:40Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow
Sunday 21st September
16:00Ospreys vs Edinburgh
Friday 26th September
19:35Leinster vs Cardiff Blues
19:35Glasgow vs Connacht
19:35Edinburgh vs Scarlets
Saturday 27th September
16:00Zebre vs Ulster
18:30Munster vs Ospreys
Sunday 28th September
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 3rd October
19:35Ulster vs Edinburgh

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