Ulster recorded their first Heineken Cup win of the season on Friday, beating Bourgoin 25-24 at Ravenhill thanks to a late Andrew Trimble try.
With both sides well out of contention for Heineken Cup qualification Ulster restored some pride after registering their first win in Europe this season, and fought back from looking well out of contention to snatch a valuable result before they go to Gloucester next week for their final Heineken Cup clash.
With David Humphreys producing an inspiring performance, something that will have encouraged new coach Matt Williams who takes over from caretaker coach Steve Williams, Ulster hauled themselves back into the game. Second-half tries from Tommy Bowe and Paul Marshall put them in a position to win the game, and Trimble snatched the result with his late score.
Ulster's cause was helped by Bourgoin having three players sent to the bin and having to play from the 53rd minute on with only 14 players on the field.
Prior to that, the visitors had taken a try bonus when Augusto Petrilli had crossed for their fourth try in the 57th minute. In the end, they had to be content with two losing bonus points.
The visitors crossed the line three times in the opening half, the pick of the scores being the second try, in the 20th minute, when winger Mathieu Nicolas brought off a clever offload that left the Ulster defence flat-footed and saw full-back Florian Denos put in a grubber kick on Ulster's 22-metre line and dive on the ball as it rolled over the line.
Indeed, Bourgoin, showing great imagination and skill with the ball in hand, opened their account in the first minute when Ulster's midfield defence opened up and allowed winger Jean Francois Coux make the left corner.
Humphreys brought Ulster back with a fifth-minute penalty and added another, eight minutes later, to give the home side a 6-5 lead.
It did not last though and Denos' clever try duly arrived which was then added to in injury time when Julien Frier intercepted a Paul Marshall pass off the deck and took the ball just short of the try line when hooker Remy Vigneaux touched down under the posts. Coux converted and the visitors trotted off behind a 16-7 lead.
Bowe's try gave Ulster something to chase before Marshall's try and Trimble's heroics secured the win.
Tries: Bowe, Marshall, Trimble
Cons: Humphreys 2
Pens: Humphreys 2
Tries: Coux, Denos, Vigneaux, Petrilli
Cons: Parra 2
Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Trimble, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 David Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Grant Webb, 7 Neil Best, 6 Matt McCullough, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Carlo Del Fava (c), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Justin Fitzpatrick.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Young, 17 S Philpott, 18 Justin Harrison, 19 David Pollock, 20 Mark McCrea, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Niall O'Connor.
Bourgoin: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Matthieu Nicolas, 13 Yann David, 12 Nicolas Carmona, 11 Jean-Francois Coux, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 MickaŽl Forest, 8 Wessel Jooste, 7 Augusto Petrilli, 6 Julien Frier, 5 Chris Wyatt, 4 Julien Pierre (c), 3 Olivier Sourgens, 2 Remy Vigneaux, 1 Arnaud Tchougong.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 17 Pablo Cardinali, 18 Mark Rennie, 19 Brice Monzeglio, 20 Matias Viazzo, 21 Anthony Forest, 22 Franck Romanet.
Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Touch judges: Hugh Watkins (Wales), Matthew Aplin (Wales)