Pienaar guides Ulster into final

PA Sport
Ruan Pienaar (front)
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Ruan Pienaar (front)

A masterful performance from Ruan Pienaar guided Ulster past Edinburgh and into their first Heineken Cup final since they were crowned European champions in 1999 after a 22-19 win over the Gunners.

The South African scrum-half kicked 17 points and pulled the strings behind a dominant pack as Ulster booked a place at Twickenham on May 19.

Ulster, who brought a reported two per cent of Northern Ireland with them to Dublin, will face either defending champions Leinster or Clermont Auvergne in the final.

Edinburgh produced a spirited performance, with four penalties from fly-half Greig Laidlaw keeping them in touch after Pedrie Wannenburg's try had put Ulster ahead.

But the Scottish side, making their first appearance in the semi-finals, failed to take their chances and Ulster - inspired by man of the match Pienaar - turned the screw after the interval.

Ulster's victory was ultimately more comprehensive than the final score suggested, after Edinburgh replacement Jim Thompson crossed for a consolation try in the final minute.

But it did nothing to dampen the Ulster celebrations.

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