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Highlights on Off The Ball


WATCH: Ulster maintain unbeaten streak with win over Munster

It was a meeting of unbeaten sides on Saturday as Munster travelled to Belfast to take on Ulster ...

It was a meeting of unbeaten sides on Saturday as Munster travelled to Belfast to take on Ulster in the first interpro on 2021.

Ulster came into the match after bouncing back from a first half scare against Connacht a week earlier, furthering their nine-match winning streak in the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season.

Munster, on the other hand, were given a week off, after their derby with Leinster was postponed due to two positive COVID-19 cases in the Leinster squad.

Dan McFarland's men showed their intent early in the match, opting not to kick for the posts in the first five minutes; instead opting to look to power over the try line from the lineout maul.

While they failed to score from the maul, a few minutes later, a brilliant lineout move and slick pass from James Hume put Jacob Stockdale through a gap, which was ultimately finished off by Matt Faddes in the corner.

John Cooney could not add the extras, however Ulster put themselves in an early lead in the first seven minutes of the match.

Despite conceding three points to the boot of Ben Healy, McFarland's men were clearly in the mood to keep their unbeaten record alive with wide and creative backline moves and open play.

They extended their lead int he 16th minute after Billy Burns put up a well-weighted cross kick for Ethan McIlroy to regather to cross over untouched in the corner.

Cooney made no mistake this time, to put the hosts nine points clear with a quarter of the match played.

After a penalty from Cooney put Ulster further in front half an hour into the first half, the visitors struggled to break through the white wall and fight their way back into the match.

Ulster held onto their 15-3 lead until half time, camping inside the Munster 22m, before giving up the penalty at the scrum for wheeling. Craig Casey ultimately held the ball at the back of the lineout maul, before chipping it into touch to take the teams to half time.

Matt Faddes Ulster vs Munster Matt Faddes of Ulster scores his side's first try during the Guinness PRO14 match between Ulster and Munster at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile

Ulster did not get off the same start in the second half as they did in the first, as Munster were able to stem their creativity on attack for the first 15 minutes in the half.

The visitors were dealt a blow with just under an hour played, as their captain Billy Holland was shown yellow for a late sack at the lineout maul, when Ulster were in a scoring position.

Despite being a man up, Ulster were unable to convert their pressure into points, with scores unchanged heading into the final quarter of the match.

Looking to emulate their heroic fightback against Clermont in the Champions Cup before Christmas, Munster piled on the pressure in the final 15 minutes in an attempt to reduce the 12-point deficit.

However, Ulster's defence were up to the task, keeping the second half scoreless with five minutes left to play.

The hosts absorbed the pressure from Munster, with Callum Reid eventually conceding a yellow card due to repeated infringements in the Ulster's own 22m area.

Munster did not head home empty-handed, as they secured their losing bonus point with the final play of the game, with Darren Sweetnam scoring after the Television Match Official (TMO) ruled that there was no clear knock on in the build up to the try.

Jack Crowley added the extras, to bring the scoreline to 15-10 in favour of Ulster, who remained unbeaten in the Pr014.

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Read more about

Ben Healy Billy Burns Connacht Ethan McIlroy Guinness Pro14 Jacob Stockdale James Hume John Cooney Leinster Matt Faddes Munster Ulster