Report | Northampton 20 Ulster 24

Report | Northampton 20 Ulster 24

4 months ago

Match Reports

Ulster have progressed to the Round of 16 in the Heineken Champions Cup, after defeating Northampton Saints 20-24 at cinch Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The opening few minutes involved both sides sending the ball aerially – Ulster’s back three dealt with the high balls comfortably. Courtnall Skosan was unable to cleanly catch one of Ulster’s kicks in reply, giving Ulster the scrum which they won to put Northampton under pressure. Stewart Moore, Billy Burns and Nathan Doak set in motion their first try, with Robert Baloucoune collecting a loose ball just outside the Saints’ line to make the dive over.

Saints had soon got themselves into a dangerous area of the field, but Mike Lowry made a superb pick-up of a loose ball to go on the counter-attack with Robert Baloucoune in hot pursuit. Baloucoune made a great run and Nathan Doak was in support to go over for Ulster’s second try and made the conversion.

It took until the 19th minute for the hosts to get on the board through a Dan Biggar penalty after Ulster were caught offside.

Northampton enjoyed a period of possession and territory, and eventually got purchase through Dan Biggar dotting down under the posts. The Welsh out-half converted his try to bring the game to within two points.

That two-point gap was short-lived however, as Ulster responded three minutes later, when Mike Lowry once again acted quickly to catch a messy ball and race through for their third try. Nathan Doak fired over the conversion to put Ulster nine points up at the break.

The hosts were the first to get on the board in the second half, after Ulster were penalised for going off their feet on 43 minutes, and Dan Biggar obliged with the penalty.

Ulster had a golden opportunity on 55 minutes after a fantastic initial break by Mike Lowry brought them agonisingly close to the Saints’ line. They got a penalty when scrum-half Alex Mitchell infringed and saw yellow, and Ian Madigan went for the quick-tap, but the hosts were smart over the ball to force the turnover.

The Ulster men in their European red colours, sealed the bonus-point try on 60 minutes, when Ethan McIlroy scorched down the wing and drew the Northampton defence to send Lowry home for his second try of the afternoon.

Northampton looked to be down and out but with a minute left to play, centre Rory Hutchinson broke through the middle to pounce over. George Furbank took the quick conversion bringing the gap to four points, but Ulster were able to regain possession and Star of the Match, Mike Lowry fittingly kicked the ball out for Ulster to take the victory and last-16 qualification.

Full-time score: Northampton Saints 20 Ulster 24

Worth Another Look

Star of the Match

Scorers

Northampton

Tries: Dan Biggar, Rory Hutchinson

Cons: Dan Biggar. George Furbank

Pens: Dan Biggar (2)

Ulster

Tries: Robert Baloucoune, Nathan Doak, Mike Lowry (2)

Cons: Nathan Doak (2)

Line-ups

Northampton

(15-9) George Furbank, Courtnall Skosan, Tom Litchfield, Rory Hutchinson, Tom Collins, Dan Biggar, Alex Mitchell;

(1-8) Alex Waller, Sam Matavesi, Paul Hill, David Ribbans, Brandon Nansen, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam (Capt.), Teimana Harrison.

Replacements: James Fish, Emmanuel Iyogun, Ehren Painter, Api Ratuniyarawa, Alex Coles, Juarno Augustus, Tom James, Tommy Freeman.

Ulster

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Kieran Treadwell, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Sam Carter, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.

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Up next at Kingpspan Stadium

Ulster will take on ASM Clermont Auvergne in the final Round of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stages at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday 22 January (5.30pm kick-off).

The following Friday 28 January, attention turns back to the United Rugby Championship, with Ulster hosting Scarlets (kick-off 7.35pm).

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