Ulster consign Wasps to fifth straight defeat in Champions Cup opener

Treadwell at Kingspan Stadium.                     Image Jonathan Porter  INPHO

Treadwell at Kingspan Stadium. Image Jonathan Porter INPHO

The game finally sprung into life midway through the second half.

Ulster smelled blood and they got their second try nearly immediately after the first.

Ulster saw the game out brilliantly thereafter, with Australian out-half Christian Lealiifano kicking a crucial penalty eight minutes from time which denied Wasps a losing bonus point, and put Ulster in a strong position after matchday one.

But Cooney levelled the scores just before the quarter of the hour mark following Jacob Stockdale's break which again saw Wasps offside near their posts.

The visitors spurned two scoring chances from close-in as Ulster sacked their driving maul on two occasions - with Iain Henderson, debuting as skipper, to the fore on the second - to lift the siege.

A very scrappy first half ended with a scrum penalty against Ulster and Jimmy Gopperth nudged Wasps ahead 6-3 in the 40th minute. Quick hands from Marshall soon got Ulster moving in the right direction, and a close-range penalty to touch brought the best opportunity of the game to date, Lealifano adjudged to have grounded just short of the line by the TMO.

Elsewhere in the Ulster line-up, Charles Piutau faced his former club at full-back, with Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey in the centre and the in-form Stockdale - the scorer of the match-winning try against Connacht - on the left wing.

The Ulster winger was then tackled by Christian Wade but threw a high pass inside which McCloskey collected to dot down. Cooney missed the conversion and Ulster now had a four-point lead at 13-9 with 20 minutes remaining.

That became 16-9 on 69 minutes when Lealiifano slotted a penalty and he did so again with five minutes to go after Daly was yellow-carded for a high hit on Louis Ludik.

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