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Ulster aiming for fifth straight Heineken Champions Cup win

Thursday 14th November 2019

11:12 am (GMT)

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Ulster aiming for fifth straight Heineken Champions Cup win

Ulster Rugby will again be looking to reach the Heineken Champions Cup knockout stages

Channel 4 and Virgin Media’s live free-to-air coverage kicks off on Saturday lunchtime as Bath Rugby and Ulster Rugby clash in what looks sure to be a tasty Heineken Champions Pool 3 clash at The Rec.

Bath Rugby featured in Channel 4’s opening match last season in a nail-biting defeat to Toulouse while Ulster reached the last eight before a narrow defeat to eventual finalists Leinster Rugby in Dublin.

Key Facts 

  • Bath have lost each of their four matches against Ulster in the Heineken Champions Cup. Stade Français Paris are the only other side Bath have faced in the tournament without at least one win (P2, L2).
  • Ulster have won their opening match in eight of their last 10 Heineken Champions Cup campaigns (L2), although they suffered defeat the last time they started their season away from home (v Bordeaux-Bègles 2016/17).
  • Ulster have won five of their last six clashes with Premiership opposition in the Heineken Champions Cup, with their two most recent victories in that run both coming despite trailing at half time.
  • Ulster have won each of their last four pool games in the Heineken Champions Cup – their best such run since winning eight in a row across the 2012/13 and 2013/14 campaigns.
  • Eleven of Bath’s last 15 home games in the pool stage of the Heineken Champions Cup have seen the defeated side come away with a losing bonus point.
  • Bath won 8.3 turnovers per game on average in the Heineken Champions Cup last season, more than any other side. Individually, only Tadhg Beirne (15) of Munster won more than Bath’s Francois Louw (12).
  • Ulster averaged 181 tackles per game last season, the most of any side.

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Ulster hang on to clinch narrow away success

Saturday 16th November 2019

3:31 pm (GMT)

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Ulster hang on to clinch narrow away success

Ulster's John Cooney scores the first try against Bath

Ulster Rugby defeated Bath Rugby by the narrowest of margins in what was a tumultuous Heineken Champions Cup Pool 3 clash at The Rec.

Scrum-half John Cooney scored 12 points as they edged out Bath 17-16 despite a dramatic finish with Jacob Stockdale preventing a late try with a delightful intercept.

It was a brilliant bit of play from Cooney – who won Heineken Man of the Match – to give the visitors the lead on 14 minutes after he read the clearing Bath kick and intercepted before the ball took a kind Ulster bounce and he sprinted fully 50 metres and dotted down. The try-scorer then added the extras.

Bath responded just before the half-hour mark with consecutive penalty kicks from full-back Freddie Burns and that meant it was 7-6 at the interval, with Cooney pushing wide a simple penalty kick on half-time.

Ulster should’ve gone further clear on 53 minutes when Luke Marshall and Rob Herring battled to take the Irish province close to the try line but the pass to Cooney was behind him and he could only knock on with the line at his mercy.

They did extend the lead four minutes later when Ulster spread play wide across from left to right, releasing Will Addison who booted in behind the Bath line and found Rob Lyttle who had the freedom of The Rec and dotted down in the corner with ease.

Bath hit back though when on his European debut, Gabriel Hamer-Webb sprinted clear down the left wing and dotted down and when Burns converted, it was a one-point game again.

Rhys Priestland nudged Bath ahead but Cooney hit back minutes later as they traded penalty kicks, but it was the final play of the match that proved most dramatic.

Bath won the ball back and spread it out wide brilliantly, forcing the overlap but with the final pass and a match-winning try surely on the cards, Stockdale performed a stunning dive and intercept, going out of play in the process and winning the match for the Irish province.

Bath will travel to Harlequins in Round 2 next Saturday while Ulster will host ASM Clermont Auvergne on Friday night.

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