Edinburgh (6) 14-8 (3) Ulster

Man of the match McInally scoresInterim coaches Stevie Scott and Duncan Hodge marked their first match in charge of Edinburgh Rugby with victory over high-flying Ulster on a bitterly cold evening at Murrayfield.

Interim head coach Scott said: "Everything we asked of the players in terms of attitude, intent, hard work, and desire in training this week was brought onto the field in tonight's match.

"I"m delighted for the players and the fans.

"We have now set a standard from which we can build and the challenge is to continue improving, starting with Zebre in Italy next week."

Despite the near-freezing conditions in the capital, the hosts had a try from man of the match winning back-row Stuart McInally as reward for their endeavours, as well as nine points from the boot of stand-off Piers Francis.

Ulster replied with a try from Andrew Trimble, but the visitors were left ruing missed opportunities at the beginning of the second half, as the hosts registered their first RaboDirect PRO12 win of 2013.

The sides battled for control of territory in the opening minutes, a crucial factor given that conditions were unlikely to make for much running rugby.

Talei batters throughEdinburgh Rugby were presented with the first scoring chance following a charge-down from returning open-side Ross Rennie, but Jared Payne scampered back to touch down and relieve the danger on the Ulster line.

A bumper crowd of 4714 (the highest PRO12 crowd of the season outside of the 1872 Cup clash) did not have long to wait for the evening's first points, as Francis took advantage of an Ulster infringement to kick the home side into the lead inside the opening quarter (3-0).

Centre Ben Atiga and number 8 Netani Talei were to the fore in the opening stages with powerful carries, while Lee Jones was looking lively on the wing, making a number of incisive breaks.

Quick ball from the ruck was allowing the home side to stamp their authority on the match and it was not long before they had more points on the board.

Francis added another penalty on the half-hour mark to extend the lead, converting the three-pointer from in front of the posts after a period of concerted pressure within the Ulster 22 (6-0).

However, Edinburgh Rugby conceded a penalty on the stroke of half-time and Ulster's Ireland internationalist Paddy Jackson - returning to Murrayfield for the first time since his Test debut last month - reduced the arrears (6-3).

Jackson's penalty meant it was a three-point game at the interval.

HALF-TIME: Edinburgh Rugby 6-3 Ulster Rugby

The visitors looked the livelier after the resumption, and quickly established themselves within the Edinburgh Rugby danger zone.

Jackson was handed a chance to kick the Ulstermen level within five minutes of the restart, but dragged his penalty wide, before repeating the feat just two minutes later.

Edinburgh Rugby were handed a major let-off when Jackson missed his third attempt of the half, as the visitors looked to capitalise on their territorial dominance.

Somewhat against the run of play, though, it was the home side that scored the game's first try. Fijian number eight Netani Talei burst off the base of a scrum before flanker Stuart McInally capitalised to power over (11-3).

Ulster struck back with a well-crafted try of their own, as Michael Allen put full-back Payne into space before he fed Andrew Trimble who snuck over in the corner, despite the best efforts of the covering Tom Brown.

Jackson was again off target with the conversion. (11-8)

Edinburgh Rugby sensed victory was in touching distance, and nearly scored with just over ten minutes to play as Francis spotted a gap, but he was thwarted en route to the line.

The pressure told minutes later though, as Francis kicked his third penalty of the night to extend the lead with less than five minutes to go (14-8).

FULL-TIME: Edinburgh Rugby 14-8 Ulster Rugby

Edinburgh Rugby
: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Dougie Fife, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Sean Kennedy; 1 Allan Jacobsen, 2 Steven Lawrie, 3 Willem Nel, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 5 Sean Cox (captain), 6 Stuart McInally, 7 Ross Rennie, 8 Netani Talei
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford (on for Lawrie, 57") 17 John Yapp (on for Jacobsen 66"), 18 Geoff Cross (on for Nel 63"), 19 Perry Parker, 20 Hamish Watson (on for Talei 77"), 21 Richie Rees, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Tim Visser (on for Brown 67")

Ulster Rugby
: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Mike Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall; 1 Tom Court, 2 Rob Herring, 3 John Afoa, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 5 Lewis Stevenson, 6 Dan Tuohy, 7 Mike McComish, 8 Robbie Diack
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Nick Williams (on for Muller HT), 20 Ali Birch, 21 Michael Heaney (on for Marshall 60"), 22 Ricky Andrew, 23 Peter Nelson (on for Olding 55")

: 4,714
RaboDirect PRO12 man of the match: Stuart McInally