Last season’s Heineken Champions Cup runners-up Leinster Rugby were helped by an impressive first-half performance as they beat Ulster Rugby 20-13 in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

Ulster welcomed Leinster to the Kingspan Stadium having enjoyed a perfect start to the season, but it was the visiting province who took victory on a rainy night.

Leinster, who will be in Pool A of the 2022-23 Heineken Champions Cup, enjoyed a dominant first 40 minutes. Back row Ryan Baird opened the scoring for Leinster, and Dan Sheehan continued his good form by going over just after 20 minutes to extend the lead.

Ulster were not given any reprieve, the returning Ross Byrne in fine form for the visitors as he kicked both conversions and a penalty to put Leinster 17-3 up at the break, John Cooney’s penalty giving the hosts at least some hope.

The second half saw Ulster mount somewhat of a fightback, with John Andrew availing of a sin bin to power over the line.

There was real hope when Aaron Sexton was thought to have scored with 11 minutes to go, leaving the gap at just three points, but TMO intervened and determined that the winger lost the ball forward when he went to ground, ruling out the try and practically ending all Ulster hope.

The other Heineken Champions Cup side involved in Friday’s action was URC side Vodacom Bulls, who defeated Connacht Rugby 28-14 at Loftus Versfeld.

Zak Burger scored a brace as the Pool A side dominated their opponents, scoring three tries in the first half.

It means the South African side sit second in the table, joint on points with Leinster and behind them only on point difference.