If you’re an Ulster supporter, the first 40 minutes of tonight’s clash against Munster at the Kingspan Stadium can be described as nothing less than a nightmare.
The northern province were completely off the pace, especially up front where they were beaten up at the breakdown and struggled to compete with an utterly dominant Munster setpiece, especially in the scrum and lineout.
Ulster conceded two tries to a lineout maul which Niall Scannell converted on both occasions and the third try was from a relentless Munster scrum which the referee eventually awarding a penalty try to Johann van Graan’s side.
The scoreline could have been much worse for Ulster, too. JJ Hanrahan missed a penalty and two conversions in the opening 40 minutes.
However, Ulster showed a lot more when they returned for the second period with a marked improvement in the physicality stakes giving them a greater foothold in the game. Munster started leaking penalties which led to the sin-binning of Fineen Wycherly who had come on for Billy Holland in the first half.
Darren Cave scored Ulster’s first try of the game soon after that yellow card but then things went from bad to worse for Munster as Sam Arnold was given a straight red card for a high tackle on Christian Lealiifano. The tackle was in the build-up to that try from Cave and all of a sudden the men in red were down to 13.
Craig Gilroy then punished the away side with two tries and then Rob Lyttle secured the bonus point for Ulster at the death as he ran in for a great score after he was released by Rob Herring.
Ultimately, Munster will wonder how they lost that game considering they were 17-0 up at one stage.