Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Ulster

Ulster Rugby 27 - 16 Montpellier: Anscombe's side win Heineken Cup clash but no bonus point for Ulstermen

Heineken Cup action from Ravenhill (8pm kick-off)

By John Mulgrew

Ulster have beaten Montpellier 27 - 16 during their home Heineken Cup clash at Ravenhill.

Montpellier opened the scoring early on in the first half of the Pool 5 match, thanks to an Eric Escande penalty.

But a strong kick from fly-half Paddy Jackson to Robbie Diack landed the Ulstermen their first try of the match.

Ruan Pienaar ensured a sideline conversion left the home side 7 - 3 ahead.

But only moments later, Pienaar landed another try - with a conversion - forcing Ulster firmly into a 14 - 3 lead.

Montpellier soon followed with a strong response from the French with a Tchale Watchou try.

Ulster soon powered back to bring the scoreline to 17 - 10 - thanks to Ruan Pienaar.

A Montpellier penalty brought the half-time score to 17 - 13.

Before the second half kick-off Roger Wilson replaced Nick Williams for the Ulstermen.

Scoring was opened for the home side thanks, once again, to Ruan Pienaar - landing a monster kick.

The visitors responded, bringing things to within just four points.

But John Afoa brought the Ulstermen further head thanks to a try, with Ruan Pienaar working yet more magic with a conversion.

That left Ulster 27 - 16 ahead after 64 minutes.

It looked like Ruan Pienaar could have landed the fourth key bonus point try minutes later after a strong charge, but referee Wayne Barnes ruled it was held up.

But despite a last ditch attempt in the game's remaining moments, Ulster failed to secure the extra point to solidify their home win.

Ahead of Friday's Heineken Cup clash against Montpellier, Rory Best came roaring from injury back to join the Ulster side.

The 31-year-old continues to defy medical convention, returning to the middle of the front row just seven weeks after he broke his right forearm while playing for Ireland against New Zealand.

Speaking ahead of Friday's game, Best said his recovery was a "testament to the medical team that we have here".

"Michael Eames the surgeon and the strength and conditioning coaches at Ulster – that I am back so soon," he said.

"I have been fortunate that there have been no set-backs along the way, so it has just been a case of trying to push on and thankfully I have come through."

Meanwhile skipper Muller also overcome a calf injury while Williams replaces Roger Wilson at number eight.

Andrew Trimble also made a record 58th appearance for the home side in Europe.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph