Ulster extended their magnificent home run in the Heineken Cup to 12 matches over four seasons as they came from behind to put a severe dent in Gloucester’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Victory for the home side keeps their mathematical hopes of qualifying alive, while Gloucester will need to beat Pool leaders Stade Francais Paris by more than three tries in a game in which they will have to score at least four to secure a bonus point. On top of that they will have to deny the Frenchmen a bonus point to match their 19 points following their 35-16 home win over Cardiff Blues.

A night of incessant rain turned the game into a kick and rush affair. Gloucester had the upper hand in the first half and sailed into a nine-point lead thanks to three penalties from the trusty boot of Henry Paul.

David Humphreys grabbed Ulster’s first points two minutes from half time with a near 50 metre penalty, but an injury time drop goal from Gloucester outside half Simon Amor restored his team’s nine point advantage at the break.

Welsh referee Nigel Whitehouse incurred the wrath of the home fans in the last play of the first half when he ruled that right wing Tommy Bowe was in front of Humphreys as he latched on to his clever cross kick to seemingly score.

But while that try was ruled out, Whitehouse had no complaints six minutes after the break when Humphreys and Bowe repeated the move to clear the way for fullback Bryn Cunningham to race 15 metres to score.

That gave Ulster the momentum they required and penalties after 68 and 72 minutes from Humphreys gave the battling home side the lead for the first time.

Gloucester rallied in the closing stages and used their forwards to drive on in search of the points they needed to clinch victory but the closest they got was another snap drop goal attempt by Amor on the stroke of full time, which drifted wide of the posts.