Ulster claim key win at Toulouse

Date published: December 20 2015

Ulster picked up only their third ever win on French soil as they beat Toulouse 25-23 in the Champions Cup at Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday.

A converted try from Ruan Pienaar accompanied with a penalty from Paddy Jackson took the Ulstermen into an early ten point lead. This conjoured up memories of last week's 38-0 victory over the hosts in last week's return fixture.

However, fly-half Jackson was shown a yellow card late in the first-half and this gave the hosts some impetus. Sébastien Bézy scored two penalties in the ten minutes either side of half-time that Jackson was in the sin-bin. However, a try from Andrew Trimble helped Ulster maintain an advantage over the four-time champions.

A try from Gael Fickou gave the hosts hope but Ulster were dominant with Pienaar pulling the strings.

Luke Marshall and Louis Picamoles scored a try apiece for the two sides in the last ten minutes but the visitors finished on top.

It keeps the visitors in second position in Pool A, they now hold a four point advantage over Toulouse with a match in hand.

Jackson opened the points scoring for Ulster with a penalty in the third minute.

The visitors extended their lead with the first try of the afternoon in the 31st minute. A well-constructed try finished with a brilliant piece of improvisation by Springbok Pienaar. Jackson added the extras to put the Ulstermen into a ten point lead.

In the 35th minute Jackson was sent to the sin-bin, the fly-half shown a yellow card by JP Doyle for a deliberate knock-on. Bézy got Toulouse off the mark with the resulting penalty taking the sides into half-time at 10-3 to the visitors.

The hosts took advantage further as Bézy used the wind well to score another penalty after 42 minutes.

Jackson was back on the pitch three minutes later and Ulster capitalised, extending their lead through another try. Trimble scored this one, crossing well in the corner after Stuart McCloskey broke downfield.

The hosts responded well, Fickou scored a try in the 50th minute after a good spell of possession found its way out wide to the French international who finished well. Bézy converted to pull his side within two points of the visitors.

Bézy put the home side into the lead with a penalty following more indiscipline from Ulster. Jackson though restored the visitors' lead with a penalty of his own on the hour mark.

Marshall looked to have wrapped up victory for Ulster in the 74th minute, exploiting a gap before crashing over. Jackson landed the conversion to give the visitors a nine point lead.

Toulouse gave themselves a glimmer of hope in the 78th minute, Picamoles drove over before Jean-Marc Doussain converted but it was not enough as Ulster ran out winners.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Fickou, Picamoles
Con: Bézy, Doussain
Pen: Bézy 3

For Ulster:
Tries: Pienaar, Trimble, L Marshall
Con: Jackson
Pen: Jackson 2
Yellow: Jackson (36 mins – deliberate knock-on)

Toulouse: 15 Alexis Palisson, 14 Kunatani Kunabuli, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Jean-Marc Doussain, 9 Sébastien Bézy, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Gregory Lamboley, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Gert Muller, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 David Mele, 22 Luke McAlister, 23 Clément Poitrenaud.

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Kyle McCall.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Louis Stevenson, 20 Nick Williams, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Rory Scholes.

Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Darren Gamage (England), Paul Burton (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)