A bright start helped Bordeaux-Bègles to cling on for a 26-22 victory away at Ulster in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
The boot of Ian Madigan helped Bordeaux-Bègles to a strong first-half showing. He added ten points, combined with tries from Yann Lesgourges and Marco Tauleigne to send Bordeaux-Bègles into the half-time interval with the lead.
Andrew Trimble scored for the hosts during the first-half to keep them in the contest and they rallied in the second.
A try from Darren Cave converted by Paddy Jackson nudged them in front but a brace of penalties from Simon Hickey secured victory for the away side.
The French side’'s victory takes them onto 14 points in Pool 5 but that total will not be enough to advance for the quarter-finals as Clermont run away with the pool. Ulster, meanwhile bring a disappointing campaign to a close with defeat.
Madigan got Bordeaux-Bègles off to a perfect start with a penalty in the second minute. This was before the opening try came after 11 minutes, Lesgourges showing great instincts to pick the ball from the base of an Ulster scrum before running in from 20 metres out. Madigan’'s conversion made the score 0-10.
Ulster struck back with a try from Trimble, a good lineout opening up space for Trimble to steal in and finish well in the corner. Paddy Jackson missed the conversion to leave the deficit at five points with 20 minutes gone.
In the 23rd minute, a huge scrum from the visitors put the hosts’ defence under immense pressure. Number eight Tauleigne capitalised, picking the ball up before bagging a try that was confirmed by the TMO. Madigan’'s simple conversion made the score 5-17.
Five minutes later, the home side struck back. Second-row Franco van der Merwe showing his power to score a good try. Jackson added the conversion on this occasion, taking the score to 12-17.
Irishman Madigan added a penalty from 40 metres out in the 32nd minute to extend the visitors’ lead to eight points. This was before Jackson rounded off the first-half proceedings with a penalty to leave the score at 15-20.
Cave then scored the first points of the second half with a well-taken try from the bottom of a ruck, Jackson converting to nudge Ulster into a 22-20 lead.
However, two penalties in the last ten minutes from Simon Hickey secured the victory for the French visitors and made the final score 22-26.
Tries: Trimble, Van der Merwe, Cave
Cons: Jackson 2
Tries: Lesgourgues, Tauleigne
Cons: Madigan 2
Pens: Madigan 2, Hickey 2
Yellow Card: Cros
Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Andrew Trimble (c), 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Dave Shanahan, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Robbie Diack, 3 Jonny Simpson, 2 Rory Best, 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Craig Gilroy
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Geoffrey Cros, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 12 Joe Wakacegu, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Loann Goujon, 6 Louis Madaule, 5 Berend Botha, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Clément Maynadier, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Benat Auzqui, 17 Sébastien Taofifenua, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Joe Edwards, 20 Hugh Chalmers, 21 Julien Audy, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Julien Rey
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England), Gareth Copsey (England)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)