Ulster break French jinx

2013-01-19 18:39
Ruan Pienaar (AFP Photo)

Paris - Last season's beaten finalists Ulster rounded off their European Cup pool campaign with their first win in France at their 15th attempt, beating Castres 9-8.

All their points came from the boot of South African Ruan Pienaar, but a weakened side were unable to get the bonus point that would have strengthened their chances of getting a home quarter-final.

The 1999 European Cup winners - who topped Pool Four - will have to wait till the end of the weekend and the outcome of the other matches to see if they entertain their quarter-final opponents in Belfast.

Castres went into the final 20 minutes with an 8-6 lead, Remy Lamerat's try and South African kicker Rory Kockott's penalty giving them the edge, who had two Pienaar penalties to their credit.

Pienaar, who had been moved to fly-half from scrum-half for the match, sent Ulster into the lead for the first time with a penalty in the 64th minute.

In the pool's other match a surprisingly effective performance by previously winless Glasgow saw the Scottish side beat English giants Northampton 27-20 which ended any hopes the 2000 champions and finalists only two years ago had of making the last eight as a one of the two best runners-up.

George Pisi's second-half try saw Northampton overhaul Glasgow, who had taken a surprising 13-8 lead when South African backrow forward Josh Strauss touched down and it was converted by Scott Wight.

The Scottish side, though, showed much more resilience than they have throughout the sorry campaign and went back in front as Fijian scrum-half Nikola Matawalu scored their second try which Wight also converted.

Back came Saints and England fullback Ben Foden - whose pass had been intercepted by Matawalu for his try - brought them level with a try in the dying minutes.

But Glasgow centre Peter Horne brought the home crowd to their feet as he scored right at the death - he converted it for good measure - to give the hosts their long-awaited win.

Read more on:    castres  |  ulster  |  heineken cup  |  rugby


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