Clermont's second-half display destroys Ulster
MATCH REPORT: ASM Clermont Auvergne put in a terrific second-half display to defeat Ulster Rugby 29-13 and secure a Champions Cup quarter-final spot.
It was a superb start for Ulster through Stuart McCloskey who picked a gap in the Clermont line and they got a metre or two away from the line before the hosts were penalised for going off feet at the breakdown.
That left John Cooney to kick the visitors in the lead before Camille Lopez responded with a drop goal on seven minutes.
A minute later, Ulster were back ahead and it was that man Cooney again. It came from some smart work from the forwards and that released the scrum-half who sprinted away to score at the posts.
Ulster continued to dominate but failed to turn that territory and possession into points thanks to some stout Clermont defence.
It was an eventual final 20 minutes of the first half from Morgan Parra who slotted over two penalties either side of a yellow card for the captain after a deliberate knock on, leaving Ulster a point ahead at the interval.
Clermont were the better side in the second period and took advantage with the Heineken Man of the Match Alivereti Raka going over in the 49th minute, before the two sides traded penalties through Parra and Cooney.
However, it was George Moala who had the final say when he exploited some holes in the Ulster line and powered clear for the final score of the match.
Clermont will travel to face Harlequins in Round 6 while Ulster can move into the quarter-finals win a home win over Bath.
Tries: Raka, Moala
Cons: Parra, Laidlaw
Pens: Parra 3, Laidlaw
Drop Goal: Lopez
Pens: Cooney 2
Yellow Card: Morgan Parra (Clermont, 21)
Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 George Moala, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Etienne Falgoux.
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Sipili Falatea, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Alexandre Fischer, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Apisai Naqalevu
Ulster: 15 Will Addison, 14 Robert Baloucoune, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Sean Reidy, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Matthew Rea, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Bill Johnston, 23 Matt Faddes
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)