Ulster extinguish Dragons challenge in Pro 12

They are fourth in the table

Ulster, Craig Gilroy, Dragons, Pro 12

Ulster's Craig Gilroy celebrates his try with teammates ©INPHO/CameraSport/Simon King

Ulster have maintained their challenge for a Top 4 place in the Guinness Pro 12.

The province earned a 27-17 win away at Newport Gwent Dragons, although they just missed out on a bonus point.

Irish wing Craig Gilroy gave them the perfect start with a converted try on eight minutes.

Angus O'Brien then kicked a penalty to reduce the gap to four five minutes later. 

However, Ruan Pienaar's 34th minute penalty put Ulster 10-3 up at the break.

The Welsh opponents gave themselves a chance as Rynard Landman scored a try eight minutes after the break with O'Brien adding the extras.

But Ireland international Jared Payne's 59th minute try put the wind back in Ulster's sails until Dragons responded in kind eight minutes later when Oliver Griffiths scored.

However, a Paddy Jackson penalty and a John Andrew try either side of a red card for Rodney Ah You proved enough for the away side to come away with a valuable victory that keeps them fourth, just three points above Welsh side Scarlets. 

Scarlets enjoyed a win of their own at home to Edinburgh, triumphing 26-10 and picking up a bonus point thanks to four first half tries, two of which game from Rhys Patchell.