Pro 14: Ulster vs Cheetahs Result

Yellow cards cost the Cheetahs in their Pro 14 tournament opener against Ulster on Friday, 1 September.
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Ulster vs Cheetahs | Friday, 1 September | Kingspan Stadium, Belfast Kick-off: 19:35

It took nine minutes for Ulster to get their first points on the board at the Kingspan Stadium. New signing John Cooney scored off the boot from a penalty after a high tackle from the Cheetahs.

Cooney’s opposite number William Small-Smith had the same opportunity moments before, but his kick howled wide. The Cheetahs looked comfortable in defence making solid tackles and halting Ulster phases.

The Cheetahs ticked all the boxes showing great intention in the starting 25 minutes 

A brilliant run by Shaun Venter from the base of the scrum found a hole in the Ulster defence before he put a delicate grubber kick through that had William Small Smith’s first Pro 14 try written all over it, but an unfortunate bounce fell to the hands of John Cooney.

Rosko Speckman formed part the Cheetahs maiden Pro 14 points after he leapt to grab a garryowen and made a returning blitz run down the left side line of the field and passed to Clayton Blommetjies who stepped to his left to beat the fullback and score.

Ulster’s Tommy Bowe caught the Cheetahs napping after a delayed backline pass drew both Cheetah centres, before he ran in to score from 50 metres. Cooney failed to convert.

Jean Deysel was strong on the offence breaking tackles at will. But enter Makazole Mampimpi who picked up a rebounded kick from Ulster and hacked the ball, guiding it as it bounced on the try line for Mampimpi to finish off and score. Small-Smith redeemed himself with two great conversions. 12 – 8 - Cheetahs.

Ulster scored three tries in a space of six minutes to turn the game on it’s head and out the Cheetahs reach.

Ulster won a penalty and kicked to touch – a strong rolling maul saw Henco Venter collapse the maul and was sin binned. The lineout resulted in a fumble from Ulster lock that came into Sergeal Petersen’s path who knocked on and the ball was collected by forward Alan O’Connor who scored. 15 – 14 - Ulster.

Another try for Ulster came from a lineout, as a set move saw Stuart McCloskey run a flat line to beat the defence line to score. 22 – 14 to Ulster. John Cooney added the extra points.

Marcell Coetzee and Jean Deysel were instrumental in Ulster’s fourth try as a line break by the former carried on a phase and the latter broke a tackle, and Cooney passed down the line for Charles Piytau to score. 27 – 14 - Ulster, half-time.

The second half saw the hosts score two tries as former Sharks player Luis Ludik dotted down before Peter Nelson scored in the last 6 minutes of the match. Sergeal Petersen scored brilliantly for the Cheetahs only score of the second stanza.

Final Score: Ulster 42 – 19 Cheetahs

Talking points:
  • The Cheetahs ticked all the boxes showing great intention in the starting 25 minutes with solid passing, defence, and scrummaging. 
  • But the turning point was the Henco Venter yellow card for collapsing a maul that handed Ulster the momentum to secure a bonus point in under 33 minutes of play. 
  • Ulster scored three tries in a space of six minutes to turn the game on its head and out the Cheetahs' reach. 
  • Aranos Coetzee was also sin binned in the 63rd minute before Peter Nelson scored a late one for Ulster. 
  • In all fairness, it wasn’t the best debut for the Cheetahs but there are some positives they can build on in their maiden Pro 14 encounter at the Kingspan Stadium. 
  • The Cheetahs are match fit, not short of talent, have solid forwards and show great enterprising play, but tonight they’re poor discipline cost them the game.
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