Match Page - Scoreboard
Match Page - Fixed Scoreboard
Match Centre - Preview - Current Standing A v B
Match Centre - Preview - H2H
Match Centre - Preview - Form Guide
Match Centre - Preview - Last Three Meetings
Season so far
Match Centre - Preview - Season So Far A v B
Match Centre - Preview - Tournament Record (Team A)
Match Centre - Preview - Tournament Record (Team B)
Louis Ludik says Ulster’s European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Exeter Chiefs is a must-win game.
Ulster are third in Pool 5 and will need to beat the Chiefs to have any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
The Ulstermen have lost seven of their last 11 games and Ludik admits they cannot afford to slip up at Sandy Park on Sunday.
The full-back said: “It’s another away game and Exeter are playing very well at the moment. They’re currently third in the English Premiership, so we know it will be another difficult game.
“We've got a point to prove but with it being a Sunday game, that will give us plenty of time to work hard and prepare for what will be another big challenge.
“It's a must-win game. I think we owe the supporters a lot and we have to go out there and make them proud. It's games like this that you want to be involved in, so hopefully I'll be selected.”
A points tally between 17 and 19 has been enough to progress to the knock-out stages in the previous two Champions Cup campaigns.
And Ulster will see Sunday as a chance to leapfrog second-placed Bordeaux, who play leaders Clermont on the same day.
The Chiefs are bottom of Pool 5 with six points and it looks unlikely they will progress any further in the competition.
But Ulster star Ludik added: “We know Exeter will want to finish the pool stages strongly. Anything can happen, particularly in this competition because all the teams are capable of beating each other. We'll not give up without a fight.
“We played at Sandy Park in pre-season and then against Exeter at home in the Champions Cup and on both occasions it was extremely difficult. They are a big, physical side.”
The Chiefs added Gloucester and England flanker Matt Kvesic to their squad for next season earlier this week and drew with reigning European champions Saracens last time out.
“We are still in the mix – there is a bigger picture to the season and that is how we can look back at the Saracens result,” said Exeter prop Carl Rimmer.
“When we come back to the Premiership, we can say we are still right in the hunt to push on for that top four and top two. But the burn from this (Saracens) draw has to be something we hold on to for that period.”
Match Centre - Preview - Lineups
Exeter Chiefs moved up into second place in Pool 5 as they gave their fans something to cheer with their first home win in the Champions Cup this season as they beat Ulster 31-19.
It means the Chiefs, who crept into the quarter-finals last year on a dramatic final weekend, are still in the hunt for a place in the last eight, although it will take at least a win in Clermont, or perhaps a bonus point victory, to join the top eight elite once again.
Ulster came into the game knowing they needed to win to give themselves a realistic chance of pushing on and stayed in the hunt throughout a very cagey first-half that ended all-square at 12-12. There were two tries each, with Sean Reidy rounding off a clean break through the heart of the home defence by Stuart McCloskey in only the second minute to draw first blood for the visitors.
Paddy Jackson missed the conversion, as did Gareth Steenson after Michele Campagnaro turned on the gas to cross for the equaliser midway through the half. That gave the Chiefs new life and Thomas Waldrom rounded off a strong period of pressure with a typical try from close range.
This time Steenson added the extras, but some thrilling footwork from the mercurial Ulster wing Charles Piutau enabled Jackson to level matters just before the interval. The home side dominated the third period and both Waldrom, from the base of a five metre scrum, and Campagnaro picked up their second tries to give the Chiefs a bonus point and a 24-12 lead after 54 minutes.
Some more magic between Jackson and Piutau on the hour conjured up a third Ulster try to cut the gap to five points as the wing gathered an inch perfect kick-pass from his outside half. Jackson added the conversion.
Jackson then turned from hero to villain as he picked up a yellow card 10 minutes from time as he put his hand in as Exeter went to turn a 3 v 1 overlap into a fifth try. French referee Romain Poite awarded a penalty try and Steenson kicked the conversion.