Heineken Champions Cup: Ulster go top of Pool Three after victory over Clermont

Ulster Rugby's John Cooney celebrates
Ulster Rugby's John Cooney celebrates

A second-half try from John Cooney saw Ulster beat Clermont Auvergne 18-13 at the Kingspan Stadium to go top of Pool Three after two rounds of Heineken Champions Cup games.

Cooney also kicked a conversion and two penalties for a 13-point haul as the Irish province backed up last week's win at Bath in what was another arm-wrestle of a game at a weather-hit Kingspan.

Ulster's other try was scored by Jordi Murphy early in the first half, while Clermont's Greig Laidlaw slotted two penalties as the Top 14 side snatched a losing bonus point thanks to a late second-half penalty try.

Ulster led 13-3 at half-time following Murphy's try and conversion from Cooney, along with his two penalties. The only other points scored by the home side were from Cooney's 62nd-minute touchdown.

Cooney got Ulster moving with a second-minute penalty and then came close to scoring in the eighth minute after Stuart McCloskey had put him in the clear only for Alivereti Raka to get to him and force the knock-on.

Ulster then survived a period of Clermont pressure on their line and on 15 minutes Marcell Coetzee won a turnover penalty which Cooney put into the corner.

After winning another penalty, Ulster again opted for the corner and, having thrown to skipper Iain Henderson at the back, they mauled over the Clermont line, with referee JP Doyle awarding the score after consulting the TMO.

Cooney's conversion put Ulster 10-0 ahead. Jacob Stockdale then did just enough to force Raka into a knock-on on 21 minutes after he tried to latch on to a Jake McIntyre kick through.

In the 25th minute, Luke Marshall came close to scoring after Billy Burns' cross-kick put Stockdale into space down the left, but Clermont's scramble defence just held firm.

The Irish province then came close to being opened up by a Clermont turnover, only for Will Addison to halt lock Paul Jedrasiak with a game-ending hit.

Clermont, though, won a penalty at the resulting scrum which Laidlaw kicked two minutes after the half-hour.

Four minutes later, Cooney kicked his second penalty after Clermont were penalised at a ruck to restore Ulster's 10-point lead, which is how the half ended.

The second half began with neither side making much impression as the weather deteriorated, though Cooney did miss touch with two penalties which looked like proving costly.

Laidlaw also pushed the ball wide from distance with a 54th-minute penalty. He made sure with his next chance four minutes later, which was much closer to the posts.

Cooney then struck out of nothing when he broke blind, kicked the ball on and beat Isaia Toeava to the touchdown, and though he failed to convert his 62nd minute score, Ulster now looked safe at 18-6 ahead.

The French fought back and were awarded a penalty try in the 71st minute after a series of scrums and mauls near the Ulster line, but it was only enough for a losing bonus point.

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Kilbricken Storm returns to the scene of his finest hour1

Value Bet: A Storm brewing

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections for day one of Cheltenham's December meeting on Friday and he has three tips.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day2

Daily Nap: Sun to shine for Oakley

David Ord highlighted a 4/1 winner on Thursday and Matt Brocklebank bids to follow up with a selection in the valuable handicap hurdle at Cheltenham.

Arsenal celebrate a goal at Standard Liege3

Europa League: Arsenal fight back

A review of Thursday's action in the Europa League as Arsenal came from behind to draw 2-2 with Standard Liege while Man United won 4-0.

Kilbricken Storm is backed to score4

Oli Bell: Friday's Best Bets

Oli Bell fancies former Festival hero Kilbricken Storm to come roaring back to form on his seasonal return at Cheltenham on Friday.

Check out the latest in-depth racing preview5

Friday's racing preview

Cogry looks to have a fine chance of repeating last year's victory at Cheltenham, according to Keith Hamer - he has a tip for every race on Friday.

Most Read

Kilbricken Storm returns to the scene of his finest hour1

Value Bet: A Storm brewing

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections for day one of Cheltenham's December meeting on Friday and he has three tips.

Sporting Life's NAP of the day2

Daily Nap: Sun to shine for Oakley

David Ord highlighted a 4/1 winner on Thursday and Matt Brocklebank bids to follow up with a selection in the valuable handicap hurdle at Cheltenham.

Arsenal celebrate a goal at Standard Liege3

Europa League: Arsenal fight back

A review of Thursday's action in the Europa League as Arsenal came from behind to draw 2-2 with Standard Liege while Man United won 4-0.

Kilbricken Storm is backed to score4

Oli Bell: Friday's Best Bets

Oli Bell fancies former Festival hero Kilbricken Storm to come roaring back to form on his seasonal return at Cheltenham on Friday.

Check out the latest in-depth racing preview5

Friday's racing preview

Cogry looks to have a fine chance of repeating last year's victory at Cheltenham, according to Keith Hamer - he has a tip for every race on Friday.

Racing Tips

Kilbricken Storm returns to the scene of his finest hour

Value Bet: A Storm brewing

Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections for day one of Cheltenham's December meeting on Friday and he has three tips.

Kilbricken Storm is backed to score

Oli Bell: Friday's Best Bets

Oli Bell fancies former Festival hero Kilbricken Storm to come roaring back to form on his seasonal return at Cheltenham on Friday.

Rock The Kasbah in action

Simon Holt: Rock on

Simon Holt has been in sizzling form with his big-race tips and has two more selections for Friday's action at Cheltenham.

Next Race Off

03:45 Charles Town
6
(6)
Treasured Info
J: J Acosta
11
(11)
Silk Stocking
J: Gerald Almodovar
3
(3)
Princess Nekia
J: Jose Montano

Football Tips

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package and free tips

Saturday's Premier League tips

Betting previews, Super 6 predictions & best bets for Saturday's action, including Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester.

Our best bets for the latest round of Europa League fixtures

Europa League betting preview

It's the final set of group games and Paul Higham expects goals at Man Utd and Wolves, and even fancies backing Arsenal away.

Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action

Sky Bet EFL: Weekend preview

After getting a full house of winning tips in the Sky Bet EFL last weekend, Tom Carnduff is back with four best bets for the latest action.