Lealiifano snatches draw for Ulster but misses match-winning chance

Christian Lealiifano scored a late try but failed to convert
Christian Lealiifano scored a late try but failed to convert
©PA

Dragons 32 - 32 Ulster, Newport

Christian Leali'ifano scored a late try but missed out on the conversion as Ulster came from behind to draw the Pro 14 encounter 32-32 against Dragons in Newport on Friday.

The first half was quite even with both the teams managing 15 points each but the momentum kept swinging on either side and in the end both the teams will feel hard done on missing the full points.

Dragons handed an early advantage to Ulster when centre Jack Dixon was sin-binned in the fourth minute and Leali'ifano kicked a penalty to get Ulster off the mark. The visitors soon increased their lead to eight points with a try from Craig Gilroy coming in the ninth minute.

The home side finally gathered momentum at the end of the first quarter with Matthew Screech (19') and Ashton Hewitt (27') scoring tries that was seperated by a conversion and a penalty from Gavin Henson and the scoreline went 15-8 in favour of the Welsh regional side.

A neat grubber kick from Dixon to the corner then saw Hewitt touch down but the ding-dong battle took another turn when the Dragons pulled down a maul on their line for referee Marius Mitrea to award a penalty try and send the teams into the half-time break locked at 15-15.

Paul Marshall crossed over early in the second half to restore the lead for Ulster and soon they claimed a bonus point with Gilroy's second try coming in the 54th minute that also put them 12 points clear.

Unwilling to relent, back to back tries from Liam Belcher (66') and Angus O'Brien (71') helped Dragons level the scores 27-27 Henson fed O'Brien in the Ulster 22 who passed wide for Hewitt to nab his second that put the home side five points ahead.

It went unconverted, which could have been costly when Lealiifano scored near the posts for Ulster's fifth try but, with a kick to win it, he also missed to end a breathless game.

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