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Ulster battle back to down Munster in Rob Herring's record match

By PA
John Cooney of Ulster celebrates after his side's victory. Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Tries in either half from Jacob Stockdale and Nick Timoney allowed Ulster to battle back from 14-3 down and beat Munster by 21-14 in the United Rugby Championship.

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On a night when hooker Rob Herring made his record breaking 230th Ulster appearance, Ulster’s bench had the edge for them in a closely-fought game with Herring joined by Iain Henderson, John Cooney and new cap Scott Wilson in having a big impact in the second half.

Nathan Doak contributed a conversion and three penalties to securing the win with Ulster’s defence holding firm in a pulsating finish to the game.

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Craig Casey scored two tries in the first half for reigning URC champions Munster, with Jack Crowley converting both.

Casey scuttled over the Ulster line after just eight minutes after Munster had turned the screw on the home team’s scrum and forced several penalties.

Then on Ulster’s first visit to Munster’s line, Ethan McIlroy collided heavily with Shane Daly resulting in the Ulster player’s enforced departure and a yellow card for the visiting full-back.

The resulting penalty was slotted by Doak to get Ulster off the mark, but four minutes later 14-man Munster scored their second try as Casey again went over from close range.

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On 26 minutes, Ulster finally produced an attack of note when Billy Burns’ cross-kick was collected by Stockdale who made the corner. Doak just missed the conversion from the difficult angle.

The half ended with no further score, though Ulster nearly put Stockdale away again, and the teams trooped off with Munster leading 14-8.

The new half was six minutes old when Munster were penalised within range of their posts and Doak kicked his second penalty to cut the visitors’ lead to three points.

Then three minutes after the hour, Doak nailed another penalty to tie things up after Munster were penalised for being offside following a strong carry from new cap Wilson.

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Ulster, with subs Henderson and Herring making an impact, then cranked up the pressure and from a scrum, Timoney surged over the Munster line on 68 minutes to give the hosts the lead for the first time. Doak added an excellent conversion.

The home team then held out as Munster threw everything at their line, Herring winning the final turnover to secure the result.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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