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PREVIEW: Ulster looking to turn up heat

Tuesday 19th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Dernier représentant irlandais encore en course

Dernier représentant irlandais encore en course

Ulster must complete a double over Oyonnax in the first Champions Cup clash of the weekend to put pressure on their quarter-final rivals.

If the 1999 European champions are to advance to the quarter-finals, they will need other results to go their way after a 33-17 defeat to Saracens in round five. But first they have to overcome Oyonnax at the Kingspan Stadium, after a thrilling rearranged round one clash.

Les Kiss’s side came back from 23-0 down at half-time to record a famous 24-23 triumph to keep their quarter-final charge alive. Ulster go into the final round with 13 match points, and a win may not be enough as ASM Clermont Auvergne, Northampton Saints and Stade Francais have 14.

Head Coach Neil Doak said: “We always knew it was going to come down to this game and we have to make sure we do our job and then hopefully a few results can go our way. If that happens then hopefully we’ve done our job and put pressure on some other teams.

“It’s key to still have interest going into the final round of the pool stages. The last Oyonnax game was disappointing as we wanted more from the game, but it’s exciting going into the final day and not knowing all of the permutations. It shows how difficult it is to get out of the pool.

“Oyonnax did well to finish in the top six last year and get into this competition. They won’t be happy with the way things have gone, but they've got a decent side on paper with some dangerous broken field runners. We played in decent weather last week before the snow came in, so we picked the right weekend! But we have to make sure our basics are good, and we want to match what we did in the second-half of our match when we played them out there.”


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REPORT: Ulster face anxious wait after big win

Saturday 23rd January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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En clôture de sa première campagne en Champions Cup

En clôture de sa première campagne en Champions Cup

Ulster face an anxious wait to discover if they have reached the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals after completing their Pool 1 campaign with a 56-3 hammering of Oyonnax.

There were eight tries in all for the Irish province as captain Rob Herring, Darren Cave, Rory Scholes, Sean Reidy, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Diack, Ian Humphreys and Jared Payne got over the line, with Humphreys and Paddy Jackson adding the eight conversions between them.

Oyonnax could only manage a penalty through Rory Clegg as their maiden campaign in top-tier European competition came to an end on a disappointing note.

The win moved Ulster into the quarter-final places, but they now have to sit and wait while the remaining games in other pools to play out before they find out if this bonus-point success is enough.

From the off there was a real intent to take the game to their hosts and skipper Herring was soon nipping round the side of a ruck to open the scoring, with Jackson converting.

Clegg responded with a penalty but centre Cave was soon racing over the line after excellent work by Payne and Jackson in the build-up.

There were some very worrying signs for the visitors and those concerns only increased when more sharp work from Payne allowed replacement Scholes to ease over for a third try.

The bonus-point was already within sight and flanker Reidy was the man to get the fourth try, profiting from a powerful Nick Williams carry to slide over.

It was one way traffic as Ulster looked to rack up as many points and tries as possible, with Gilroy finishing superbly after Andrew Trimble had shown the initiative to take a quick throw-in near the Oyonnax line.

Diack dotted down at the foot of a maul with the Television Match Official awarding the score, while Humphreys could barely believe the space he was afforded as he went through a huge hole in the defence.

Payne raced between the posts for the eighth try, to match Ulster’s previous highest tally in a European fixture, while Humphreys conversion made it a record eight for the hosts as their nervous wait begins.

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