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Unbeaten Ulster and Clermont clash in Pool 3 battle

Wednesday 20th November 2019

2:59 pm (GMT)

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Unbeaten Ulster and Clermont clash in Pool 3 battle

Ulster's John Cooney scores the first try against Bath

Unbeaten records will be put on the line in the Heineken Champions Cup on Friday night when Ulster Rugby host ASM Clermont Auvergne at Kingspan Stadium.

The Irish province dug deep to see off Bath Rugby 17-16 at The Rec last weekend while Clermont comfortably defeated Harlequins. You can watch this match from 19:45 GMT, live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.

Key Quotes

Dan McFarland (Ulster):” Kingspan [Stadium] and the Ulster [Rugby] fans on a Friday night really look forward to welcoming French clubs and they don’t come much bigger than [ASM] Clermont [Auvergne]. So, that will be a special night. We’ll have the utmost respect for Clermont coming to Ulster as we need to. They’ll be smarting from the fact that they weren’t in the competition last year and will want to put on a good show with their star cast of players.”

Franck Azema (Clermont): “They still set a benchmark. It’s also a team that we have played quite often. They are very difficult to handle. They have a temperament which is often displayed by the Irish but they want to play the game. We also share the fact that we want to tackle and to play.

Key facts

  • This will be the fifth meeting in the Heineken Champions Cup between the two sides, with the home side winning every encounter.
  • Ulster have won 28 of their last 32 home games in the pool stages, including their last six on the bounce.
  • This will be Ulster’s 150th tournament match and become the fifth club to reach this milestone (Munster, Leicester, Leinster, Toulouse).
  • Clermont and Ulster both scored two tries from turnovers in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup.
  • Marcell Coetzee and Fritz Lee were two of just four players to make 15 carries and 15 tackles in Round 1.

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Cooney masterclass helps Ulster down Clermont

Friday 22nd November 2019

10:01 pm (GMT)

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Cooney masterclass helps Ulster down Clermont

Ulster Rugby's John Cooney celebrates scoring a try against ASM Clermont Auvergne in last season's Heineken Champions Cup

Ulster Rugby put in a superb all-round performance to see off ASM Clermont Auvergne 18-13 on Friday night in Belfast, with scrum-half John Cooney scoring 13 points in a delightful display.

The 29-year-old opened and closed out the scoring for the hosts as they dominated territory and possession throughout against the 2019 Challenge Cup winners.

The first goal-kicking chance came for Ulster as Peceli Yato illegally collected at the breakdown, allowing Cooney to confidently kick between the posts.

Ulster’s dominance continued throughout the first half and a line-out on 18 minutes provided the platform for a powerful driving maul, reaching back-row Jordi Murphy who was awarded the opening try after TMO was consulted.

Clermont got a minor foothold in the match 15 minutes later when Greig Laidlaw swept over a three-pointer from a scrum penalty but Cooney responded immediately, kicking a penalty of his own to put Ulster 10 points up at the interval.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half passed largely without incident until Ulster strayed offside inside Laidlaw’s kicking range and he swept the ball over to make it a seven-point game.

A bit of individual genius from Cooney followed minutes later in what turned out to be the match-winning try. He picked a hole down the blind side from an attacking scrum, chipped over the final defender and collected his own kick before scoring in emphatic fashion.

Clermont finally built some attacking pressure in the last 10 minutes, winning three consecutive scrum penalties in the Ulster 22 and left JP Doyle no choice but to award a penalty try.

However, they couldn’t force another opportunity as Ulster successfully navigated the final nine minutes for a crucial Heineken Champions Cup success.

Ulster are back at the Kingspan in Round 3 as they face Harlequins while Clermont will travel to face Bath Rugby.

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