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RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster boost title hopes with gutsy win at Leinster
Ulster claimed their first win at Leinster since 1999 as tries from Robbie Diack and Iain Henderson helped set up a 22-18 victory in Dublin.
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.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com