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Ulster

FULL-TIME
20     13

La Rochelle

European Cup | Kingspan Stadium
13:00 (GMT) | 13-01-2018
  • 81
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  • 80
The referee ends the game with that play. FULL TIME
  • 79
The visitors lose it forward at the half way
  • 78
Ulster holing a high line and La Rochelle can't progress forward
  • 77
The visitors win a penalty after the scrum and kick into touch at their 10
  • 76
Ulster knock-on and La Rochelle may have a final chance now
  • 75
Ulster moving it along the 5 looking for a gap, now in their 6th phase
  • 74
Line-out to the hosts at the 5 after a mistake at the back
  • 73
Ulster inside the 22 of the visitors now with the crowd hushed in anticipation
  • 72
Ulster manage to turnover in a ruck and win a penalty. They kick into touch
  • 71
The Frenchmen make it inside the 10 but still find it hard to abuse their strength at this stage in the game
  • 70
The away team in possession now and they move forward slowly
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Ulster come away with possession after the throw and look to find a gap on the wing up field
  • 67
La Rochelle wins a penalty on the defence and kick into touch in the mid field
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Ulster being held at the 5 of the visitors
  • 65
Scrum reset
  • 64
Ulster make some good ground forward. They reach the 5 of the away team and win a scrum
  • 63
Line-out at the half way to the hosts. They take their throw and move it to the opposite wing
  • 62
They take the ball out the back and clear to their 10
  • 61
Scrum to the hosts now
  • 60
Scrum reset
  • 59
Scrum to the visitors at the 5 now
  • 58
Scrum to the visitors after the initial scrum and they take it with a powerful shove. La Rochelle boot it into touch at the 5 then look for the maul
  • 57
The ball lost forward after the throw and the hosts have a scrum at their 22
  • 56
Penalty to the away side and they kick into touch outside the 5.
  • 55
Scrum reset
  • 54
The ball lost forward at the halfway. Scrum to La Rochelle
  • 53
La Rochelle move the ball to an opposite wing and get shoved back to their 10
  • 52
The ball changing hands between both sides at the half way
  • 51
The hosts just manage to turnover and clear
  • 50
La Rochelle have it outside the home team 22 after the reset and the second half quite the contrast to the first half start
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Cooney takes it and puts on 3
  • 48
Penalty to the hosts at the 22
  • 47
Ulster inside the 22 now and they move the ball around menacingly
  • 46
Ulster back on the attack after the restart
  • 45
Cooney adds the extras
  • 44
Ulster with a quick response after conceding. They capitalize on an unforced error at the back and Timoney scoops up the ball and dashes over the line to score a TRY
  • 43
Bales makes it a full 7 points
  • 42
Scrum early after the kickoff. The away team take the scrum around the half way. They find some space around the middle of the pitch and Vito runs it to the 5 before offloading to Bales who scores the TRY
  • 41
The referee sounds his whistle and the second half is underway

Half Time

  • 40
Ulster send it out wide and kick into touch. HALF TIME
  • 39
They move the ball away from the wing but then lose it forward themselves. Scrum to the hosts now at their 10
  • 38
Scrum to the visitors at the 10 of the hosts
  • 37
The ball lost forward after the restart kick
  • 36
The conversion kick again sent wide by Cooney
  • 35
Stockdale gets it along the wing and runs is man over as he slides over the line to bag his team's second TRY
  • 33
Ulster rallying around the carriers as they edge towards the 5, with renewed confidence
  • 32
They kick into touch for a throw inside the 22 of La Rochelle
  • 31
Both teams tussling for the ball around the mid field now. Ulster win a penalty
  • 30
Scrum to the away team at the half way after it's lost forward
  • 29
The reset kick is cleared almost as soon as it's caught
  • 28
Cooney sends it wide
  • 27
Best gets it in the maul and powers over the line with the help of his team. TRY
  • 26
Penalty to the hosts and they kick into touch at the 5 of the visitors
  • 25
Ulster finds an opportunity and bursts forward to the 5 of the away team but La Rochelle just manage to control and clear the ball
  • 24
Scrum to La Rochelle at the 22 o the hosts after a penalty. The ball is kicked forward along the ground but it goes into touch
  • 23
The ball is cross kicked and Jordaan takes out the man in the air. The referee awards him a yellow card for his efforts
  • 22
Ulster clear but the away team reset their attack
  • 20
They're driven further back to their 10. The visitors turnover and make their way to the 5 of the hosts
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Ulster driven back to the half way while in possession
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They manage to secure a penalty and kick into touch at the 22 of the visitors
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Ulster having some trouble exiting their half. The referee halts play in their 10th phase
  • 16
The reset kick is sent back and Ulster have it now at their 10
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Bales doubles the score
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A third penalty in a row now for La Rochelle and Ulster's discipline is lacking in the first quarter
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La Rochelle wins another penalty and they kick into touch inside the home team 10 this time
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Penalty to the visitors in the scrum and they kick into touch at their 10
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The hosts opt for a scrum at the 22
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Half way line reset for Ulster and the hosts win a penalty at the 22 of the away team
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Ulster have it now after the reset. Trying to get in the groove of things now 10 minutes in
  • 8
Penalty taken and Bales opens the scoring with 3 points
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Penalty to the away side around the 22
  • 5
La Rochelle driven back but they maintain possession. They manage to make some ground into the 22
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La Rochelle run it out wide and boot it forward. Ulster start again from the half way
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Scrum to the away side inside the home team 10
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Ulster being held at the 10 after progressing forward a bit
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La Rochelle off to an aggressive start as they throw bodies forward entering the away team 10
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The referee sounds his whistle and the game is underway
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The players readying themselves to leave the locker rooms now
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This will be La Rochelle's first Champions Cup game outside France or England. They have travelled to Ireland once in the Challenge Cup, however, losing to Connacht in October 2014 (12-48).
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Ulster lost their last home game against TOP 14 opposition but haven't lost consecutive games against French sides at the Kingspan since 2000 when they lost to Bourgoin and Toulouse.
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This will be the second meeting between the clubs, with La Rochelle's victory in Round Two representing Ulster's heaviest defeat in Europe since they lost 60-22 in Toulon in Round Five during the 2014/15 season.
  • -25
Welcome to Kingspan Stadium, where Ulster host La Rochelle
Mc ulster ed
Ulster
La Rochelle
START LINE UP
  • 1 Callum Black
  • 2 Rory Best
  • 3 Rodney Ah You
  • 4 Alan O'Conner
  • 5 Iain Henderson
  • 6 Matthew Rea
  • 7 Sean Reidy
  • 8 Nick Timoney
  • 9 John Cooney
  • 10 Christian Lealiifano
  • 11 Jacob Stockdale
  • 12 Stuart McCloskey
  • 13 Louis Ludik
  • 14 Craig Gilroy
  • 15 Charles Piutau
RESERVES
  • 16 Rob Herring
  • 17 Kyle McCall
  • 18 Ross Kane
  • 19 Kieran Treadwell
  • 20 Chris Henry
  • 21 David Shanahan
  • 22 Johnny McPhillips
  • 23 Darren Cave
START LINE UP
  • 1 Dany Priso
  • 2 Pierre Bourgarit
  • 3 Uini Atonio
  • 4 Jason Eaton
  • 5 Mathieu Tanguy
  • 6 Levani Botia
  • 7 Kevin Gourdon
  • 8 Victor Vito
  • 9 Alexis Bales
  • 10 Jeremy Sinzelle
  • 11 Vincent Rattez
  • 12 Pierre Aguillon
  • 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou
  • 14 Gabriel Lacroix
  • 15 Kini Murimurivalu
RESERVES
  • 16 Jean Charles Orioli
  • 17 Vincent Pelo
  • 18 Mohamed Boughanmi
  • 19 Gregory Lamboley
  • 20 Afaesetiti Amosa
  • 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow
  • 22 Benjamin Noble
  • 23 Paul Jordaan
Mc article european champions cup balls 800

Preview: European Champions Cup, Round Five

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 20:31

QUALIFICATION ON THE LINE: Holders Saracens are among the heavyweights fighting for their European lives when the pool stage concludes over the next two weekends - with coveted quarterfinal places on the line.

Back-to-back defeats to ASM Clermont Auvergne sees the twice European champions, Saracens, seven points adrift of their Top 14 rivals in Pool Two and two points behind this season's leading points scorers, Ospreys, ahead of Saturday's clash at the Liberty Stadium.

Saracens have won all four previous meetings between the clubs in the European Cup, but they have all been close encounters with nine points the largest margin of victory.

The magnificent new U Arena opens its doors to European club rugby for the first time on Sunday as second-placed Racing 92 take on Pool Four pace-setters Munster, who are looking to book a quarterfinal spot for a record 17th time.

The famous Rag Doll will be sporting the colours of Bath at The Recreation Ground Friday, as Scarlets make the short journey from west Wales for a crunch match in Pool Five - which sees the top three clubs separated by a single point.

Bath triumphed in Llanelli in Round Two, but Scarlets have fond memories from their only previous European Cup visit to The Rec when current Backs Coach, Stephen Jones, kicked them to a quarterfinal success in 2002.

Only Leinster and Clermont boast four wins from four and both could clinch places in the knockout stage this weekend.

The French champions head to Northampton on Saturday, while Leinster host Glasgow Warriors at the RDS Arena on Sunday.

We look at all the Round Five matches!

Friday, January 12

Pool Five:

Bath v Scarlets
(The Recreation Ground - Kick-off: 19.45; 1945 GMT)

This will be the third meeting between the clubs in Europe, both previous fixtures being won by the away side on the day (one win apiece).

Bath have won six of their last seven fixtures against Welsh opposition, a quarterfinal defeat to Scarlets in 2002 their only defeat during that run.

Scarlets won their last away game, against Benetton Rugby, but haven't won consecutive matches on the road since winning all three away games during the 2006/07 pool stage.

Bath have scored seven tries so far in this campaign, fewer than any other side in the tournament.

Tom Dunn has made 89 tackles to date, 22 more than any other player whilst maintaining a success rate of 95 percent.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Matt Garvey (captain), 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 James Phillips, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 James Wilson.

Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Paul Asquith, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Hadleigh Parkes.

Referee: Jerome Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Phillippe Bonhoure (France)

Saturday, January 13

Pool One:

Ulster v La Rochelle
(Kingspan Stadium - Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT; 14.00 France)

This will be the second meeting between the clubs, with La Rochelle's victory in Round Two representing Ulster's heaviest defeat in Europe since they lost 60-22 in Toulon in Round Five during the 2014/15 season.

Ulster lost their last home game against TOP 14 opposition but haven't lost consecutive games against French sides at the Kingspan since 2000 when they lost to Bourgoin and Toulouse.

This will be La Rochelle's first Champions Cup game outside France or England. They have travelled to Ireland once in the Challenge Cup, however, losing to Connacht in October 2014 (12-48).

Ulster has won just 81 percent of their own line-outs this season, the lowest rate in the competition.

La Rochelle has a 92 percent goal-kicking success rate this season, the best of any team in the competition, while Ulster's is 76 percent.

Teams:

Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Darren Cave.

La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Vincent Rattez, 10 Jérémy Sinzelle, 9 Alexi Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Levani Botia, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Vincent Pelo, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Afa Amosa, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Benjamin Nobles, 23 Paul Jordaan.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Matthew O'Grady (England)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)

Pool Three:

Exeter Chiefs v Montpellier
(Sandy Park - Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT; 14.15 French time)

The clubs have met just once in the Champions Cup, Exeter's three-point victory in Round Two was the first time Montpellier had lost at home since they were defeated by Bath in Round 3 during the 2014/15 season.

Overall, Exeter and Montpellier have met three times previously in Europe, having faced each other in the Challenge Cup twice. All three matches have seen the defeated side on the day come away with a losing bonus point.

Montpellier have won each of their last two games, although they've not won more consecutive matches in the competition since a run of five wins in a row during the 2012/13 pool stage.

Sam Simmonds has made more tackles (46) than any other player who is yet to miss one this season.

Montpellier is one of just two clubs with a 100 percent scrum success rate after four rounds (Harlequins are the other).

Teams:

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Nic White, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Toby Salmon, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Phil Dollman.

Montpellier: 15 Henry Immelman, 14 Gabriel N'gandebe, 13 Frans Steyn, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Gela Aprasidze, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Julien Bardy, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Nicholaas Van Rensburg, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Grégory Fichten, 18 Mohamed Haouas, 19 Julien Delannoy, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Jesse Mogg, 22 Joe Tomane, 23 Benjamin Fall.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Wales)

Pool One:

Harlequins v Wasps
(The Twickenham Stoop - Kick-off: 17.30; 17.30 GMT)

Wasps have won two of the three previous meetings between the clubs in the Champions Cup, including their only visit to the Twickenham Stoop in 2014/15.

Harlequins have lost all four of their pool games this season, their worst run in the competition since 2009/10 when they failed to win a match.

Wasps have won on each of their last two trips to face Aviva Premiership opposition with both victories coming by 20+ points.

Harlequins have scored just 66 points so far, fewer than any other side in the competition.

Wasps have averaged just 13 minutes and 59 seconds in possession to date, the lowest average in the competition.

Teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 James Lang, 9 Danny Care, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Archie White, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward (captain), 1 Lewis Boyce.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Guy Armitage.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Thomas Charabas (France), Vincent Blasco (France)
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin (France)

Pool Two:

Northampton Saints v ASM Clermont Auvergne
(Franklin's Gardens - Kick-off: 17.30; 17.30 GMT; 16.30 French time)

ASM Clermont Auvergne has won all four previous meetings between the clubs, scoring 33 points on average per game in that run and conceding just 11.

This will be just the second time Northampton Saints have hosted Clermont. They met in the 2001/02 pool stage, with Clermont winning 21-15 at Franklin's Gardens.

Saints have lost their last five games in the Champions Cup, however, they've lost just one of their last nine games when hosting TOP 14 opposition.

Clermont is one of two clubs with a 100 percent win rate after four games (also Leinster), their best start to a campaign since winning all six pool stage matches in 2012/13.

Saints have won just 11 turnovers so far, the fewest of any side, they also have the poorest scrum success rate (68 percent).

Teams:

Northampton Saints: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Harry Mallinder, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Campese Ma’afu.
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Mitch Eadie, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 James Grayson, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Nick Abendanon, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Rémi Lamerat, 11 Remi Grosso, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Etienne Falgoux.
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Davit Zirakashvili, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Arthur Iturria, 21 Charly Trussardi, 22 Scott Spedding, 23 Viktor Kolelishvili.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Leo Colgan (Ireland)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Pool Two:

Ospreys v Saracens
(Liberty Stadium - Kick-off: 19.45; 19.45 GMT)

Saracens have won all four previous meetings between the clubs, however, each of those victories came by single-figure margins.

The Ospreys come into Saturday's game having won back-to-back matches for the first time since 2011. However, they've not won three consecutive fixtures in the competition since the 2009/10 pool stage.

In contrast, Saracens have lost two games on the bounce for the first time since January 2011 when they lost to Leinster and Clermont in consecutive weeks.

Both clubs have scored 17 tries this season, the joint-highest in the competition.

Saracens have the best line-out success rate (94 percent) this season; only three sides have a worse rate than Ospreys (82 percent).

Teams:

Ospreys: 15 Sam Davies, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Dan Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Will Jones, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 Dafydd Howells.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 George Kruis, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Chris Wyles.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Eddie Hogan O'Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

Sunday, January 14

Pool Three:

Leinster v Glasgow Warriors
(RDS Arena - Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)

Leinster have won six of their seven European games against Glasgow, losing only in their first such encounter in 1999.

Only once have Leinster allowed Glasgow within losing bonus point range in their last six games, with five of their six victories against the Warriors coming by 13+ points.

Glasgow has not lost their opening five games of a Champions Cup campaign since 2012/13, while Leinster is aiming to win their opening five games for the first time since 2004/05.

Leinster have conceded the fewest penalties of any side this season (29), whilst Glasgow has conceded the joint most (49, also Ospreys and Saracens).

Glasgow has averaged 15 offloads per game this season, more than any other side in the Champions Cup, however, former Glasgow player Leone Nakarawa of Racing 92 has made the most individually (14).

Teams:

Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Isa Nacewa (captain), 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 James Ryan, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rob Kearney.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ruaridh Jackson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Nick Grigg, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Ali Price, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Matt Smith, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Rob Harley (c), 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 George Horne, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Henry Pyrgos.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Simone Boaretto (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)

Pool Five:

RC Toulon v Benetton
(Stade Felix Mayol - Kick-off: 14.00; 13.00 GMT; 14.00 Italian time)

This will be just the second meeting between the clubs after RC Toulon won in Round Two by a single point.

Benetton has lost their last 10 in a row against TOP 14 opposition, and their defeat against Toulon was the only game in which they finished within 10 points of their opponents during that run.

Toulon has won 22 of their 23 home games in the Champions Cup, losing only to holders Saracens in Round 1 last season.

Toulon has averaged 155 carries per game this season, more than any other side. Benetton ranks fourth in this category, however (138).

Benetton has missed an average of 14 tackles per game - the poorest rate in the competition.

Teams:

Toulon: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Chris Ashton, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Facundo Isa, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 Semi Radradra, 22 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Jocelino Suta.

Benetton: 15 Luca Sperandio, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Nacho Brex, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Seb Negri Da Oleggio, 6 Federico Ruzza, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Ira Herbst, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Alberto de Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Alessandro Zanni, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Marco Barbini, 22 Giorgio Bronzini, 23 Tommy Allan.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Jackson (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Pool Four:

Racing 92 v Munster
(U Arena - Kick-off: 16.15; 15.15 GMT; 15.15 UK time)

The clubs have met five times previously. Racing 92 won their first encounter in the 2012/13 season with Munster winning all four fixtures since then.

The last time Racing hosted Munster they suffered their joint heaviest defeat in Europe losing by 25 points, level with losses to Leinster and Clermont.

Despite that defeat to Munster, Racing 92 have managed to win seven of their last nine games at home, never conceding more than 18 points in those seven victories.

Racing has a goal-kicking success rate of just 65 percent this season, the lowest rate of any side in the competition.

The top two ball carriers this season could face each other on Sunday. Christiaan Stander has made a competition high 71 carries, with Leone Nakarawa just one behind on 70.

Teams:

Racing 92: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Rémi Tales, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Leone Nakarawa, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Edwin Maka, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 20 Boris Palu, 21 Xavier Chauveau, 22 Benjamin Dambielle, 23 Joe Rokocoko.

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Darren O’Shea, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Alex Wootton.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley (England), Roy Maybank (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Pool Four:

Castres Olympique v Leicester Tigers
(Stade Pierre Fabre - Kick-off: 18.30; 17.30 GMT; 17.30 UK time)

Leicester's 25 point win in Round One represented Castres' heaviest defeat since 2014/15 when they lost to Harlequins (19-47).

Castres are unbeaten in their last five home games, their longest run without defeat on home soil since winning eight in a row between October 2001 and October 2005.

Leicester have lost their last six games on the road, those defeats coming by an average margin of 23 points.

George Ford has landed 16 of his 18 shots at goal this season, giving him the best success rate (89 percent) of players to take 10+ kicks.

Yannick Caballero has the unwanted record for most missed tackles so far this season (13).

Teams:

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Kylian Jaminet, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Florian Vialelle, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Mathieu Babillot, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Thibault Lassalle, 4 Alexandre Bias, 3 Damien Tussac, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Antoine Tichit.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Firmin, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Victor Moreaux, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Yohan Domenech, 22 Yohan Le Bourhis, 23 Julien Dumora.

Leicester Tigers: 15 George Worth, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Charlie Thacker, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Valentino Mapapalangi, 7 Will Evans, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Greg Bateman (captain).
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Ben Betts, 19 Joe Maksymiw, 20 Brendon O’Connor, 21 Harry Simmons, 22 Mathew Tait, 23 Nick Malouf.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), John Carvill (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Source: @ChampionsCup

 

Mc article ulster v la rochelle action 800

Ulster stun La Rochelle monsters

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 12:30

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Ulster pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season when they beat French giants La Rochelle 20-13 at a packed Kingspan Stadium on Saturday.

Not only did the Irish province outscore their French opponents by three tries to one, but the win also put them at the top of Pool One.

Despite the dominance of the monstrous French pack, Ulster found enough heart to tackle La Rochelle into submission.

Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best led from the front with 12 carries, six tackles and a try, while Jacob Stockdale and Nick Timoney also graced the scoresheet as hosts kept the race for quarter-final berths wide open with a crucial triumph, as Alexis Bales scored all the points in a losing effort from La Rochelle.

The northern province's European campaign teetered on a knife-edge entering this contest.

Out of form and apparently low on confidence and ideas in the Pro14 they came into the contest as underdogs.

First half tries from veteran hooker Rory Best and star wing Jacob Stockdale had the hosts ahead at the break, before Nick Timoney's second half score secured the four points.

Ulster are now one ahead of La Rochelle at the top of the pool ahead of their trip to Wasps next Sunday.

The opening exchanges provided nothing but ominous signs from the team who swept five tries past Ulster in October.

Levani Botia was breaking tackles, Alexi Bales had an endless array of angles and runners to choose from and for 20 long minutes Ulster could barely escape their half.

The best setup the first quarter had to offer the hosts was a penalty inside Rochelais territory.

With a sharp wind deterring kickers, Christian Lealiifano - on his last outing at Kingspan Stadium –  was directed to touch, but his kick fell horribly short. A scrum was a welcome return for Ulster. Unfortunately, that went awry. And soon so too did the line-out 40 metres from their own posts. A litany of errors, missteps and mistimings helping to set up Bales' second penalty of the day.

A six-point deficit began to look remarkably steep. When the hosts put multiple phases of possession together midway through the first half, they found themselves running down black and yellow alleys and were continually dumped on the back foot by a solid defence led by Geoffrey Dumayrou, Kevin Gourdon and Botia

Ulster got the first try, however, after Paul Jordaan was yellow carded for taking Charles Piutau out in the air, and Rory Best carried a maul over the line, spinning over and dotting down in the corner.

That became two just before the break as Jacob Stockdale shrugged off the interests of Vincent Rattez to dance his way over in the tightest of angles at the corner.

The fear of a comeback was very real, and two minutes after the break La Rochelle struck, Victor Vito picking and going from a ruck and bursting through before sending Bales the rest of the way for the score.

Immediately Ulster responded, Darren Cave pounding on a loose ball and feeding Nick Timoney, who held off two tacklers to get the touchdown from the restart.

La Rochelle had a dominant pack, and their scrum set to work by taking over up front, however they couldn't force a penalty try after several set pieces on the five-metre line and, when Vito broke off the back, his offload went loose and the chance was gone.

That allowed Ulster to hang on, and arguably they squandered a bonus point try when they had several chances towards the end to get a fourth try, but ultimately their destiny is still in their own hands as they travel to Wasps next Sunday knowing a win will have them in the last eight.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries:
 Best, Stockdale, Timoney
Cons: Cooney
Pens: Cooney

For La Rochelle:
Tries:
 Bales
Cons: Bales
Pens: Bales 2

Yellow card: Paul Jordaan (La Rochelle, 23 - foul play, taking out the man in the air)

Teams:

Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Johnny McPhillips, 23 Darren Cave.

La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Vincent Rattez, 10 Jérémy Sinzelle, 9 Alexi Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Levani Botia, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Vincent Pelo, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Afa Amosa, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Benjamin Nobles, 23 Paul Jordaan.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Matthew O'Grady (England)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)

Source: @ChampionsCup

Rory Best (27min), Jacob Stockdale (35min), and Nick Timoney (44min)
TRIES
Alexis Bales (42min)
John Cooney (45min)
CONVERSIONS
Alexis Bales (43min)
John Cooney (49min)
PENALTIES
Alexis Bales (15min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
Paul Jordaan (23min)
 
 
VENUE Kingspan Stadium
REFEREE Wayne Barnes (England)