Connacht fell to their first defeat since January with Ulster securing a hard-fought 18 – 10 win at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast tonight.

Rory Best and Craig Gilroy crossed for Ulster’s scores either side of the break with Paddy Jackson adding eight points from the tee.

Connacht outhalf Shane O’Leary, on his first PRO12 start, kicked a first half penalty and was up to the tee after the break to convert a well worked try touched down by replacement scrum half Caolin Blade.

Pat Lam’s side were reduced to 13 players for the final eight minutes after yellow cards to both O’Leary and Sean O’Brien. But the remainder put in an impressive defensive display on their own line to dispel wave after wave of Ulster attack. The hosts failed to cross, despite the two-man advantage, but it was scant consolation for Connacht who went home empty handed from round 19.



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