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Jacob Stockdale scores again as Ulster battle past Lions in Belfast

Ireland wingers Rob Balacoune (left) and Jacob Stockdale (centre) will both be battling for spots in the Six Nations' squad this spring. (Pic: Brian Little)
By Chris Phillips

BKT United Rugby Championship

Ulster 24 Lions 17

 

ULSTER came from behind to beat the Lions at a windswept Kingspan Stadium scoring three tries to the visitors' two in game which was in the balance throughout.

James Hume, Jacob Stockdale and Rob Herring scored tries for Ulster with Nathan Doak converting three and substitute John Cooney adding a late penalty.

Richard Kriel and Hanru Sirgel crossed for the Lions, Sanele Nohamba slotting two conversions and a penalty as they earned a losing bonus point.

After 11 minutes winger Richard Kriel opened the scoring with a well taken try from a cross-kick delivered with precision by out half Sanele Nohamba and he then converted.

Henco van Wyk then had a try ruled out in the 24th minute after a knock on by Marius Louw after an Ulster move broke down as the home side struggled to put any cohesive play together.

Just before the 30-minute mark the Irish province finally made the breakthrough when James Hume dived through after another sustained period of pressure. Nathan Doak tied the scores with his conversion.

But the Lions came again and after several missed tackles on Van Wyk, the visitors took play to the line and Hanru Sirgel drove over from close range. Nohamba again converted the 34th minute score and the half ended with the Lions leading 14-7.

A minute after the restart, Ulster worked Jacob Stockdale over in the corner after working an overlap on the left. Doak's conversion tied things up again.

But, once again, the Lions sneaked in front through a 44th minute Nohamba penalty. This time Ulster's response was virtually immediate, and Rob Herring drove off a maul to put the home team in the lead for the first time, Doak's third conversion making it 21-17 to the province.

Nohamba was wide with a 60th minute long range penalty shot and when Ulster got their own kickable chance in the 66th minute John Cooney, not long off the bench, slotted a penalty which put Ulster 24-17 in front.

The hosts nearly had their bonus point try when Herring got close with six minutes to go only for the score to be scrubbed out and it ended with the Lions pressing hard near Ulster's line.

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