Ulster booked their place in this season’s Champions Cup quarter-finals after notching a 22-15 victory over Bath at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday.
Tries from Marcell Coetzee, Robert Baloucoune and Will Addison as well as two conversions from John Cooney and a crucial Billy Burns penalty secured the result and second spot in Pool 3 for the PRO14 side.
For Bath, Ruaridh McConnochie and Ross Batty crossed the whitewash while Freddie Burns succeeded with a penalty and a conversion. The Premiership outfit finished the match with 14 men after Batty was red carded for a dangerous hit on Cooney in the 73rd minute.
It was all level at half-time, before Ulster turned the screw in the second period to seal their victory.
It took only six minutes for Ulster to break the deadlock when, from an attacking five metre line-out, the forwards set up a driving maul.
The ball was dropped as it edged close to the line and Springbok number eight Coetzee picked up and powered over from close range with scrum-half Cooney adding the conversion.
Freddie Burns wasted the chance to open Bath’s account, missing a simple penalty from the Ulster 22.
Bath scored a try in the 18th minute thanks to McConnochie.
Following a sustained period of pressure in the Ulster 22, Freddie Burns put in a cross field kick, Jacob Stockdale misjudged the bounce allowing the winger to pick up and dive over the line with Burns landing the conversion from a tight angle.
Four minutes later Bath had flanker Tom Ellis was sin binned for a push on Cooney, but Ulster could not capitalise and it was all level at the interval.
FULL-TIME | Tries from @marcell_coetzee , Robert Baloucoune and @WillAddisonB3 , 2 @JCooney09 conversions and a @BillyBurns10 penalty give Ulster the victory and send us to the @ChampionsCup quarter-finals! #ULSvBAT #SUFTUMLive pic.twitter.com/CfywmQ5MRF
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) January 18, 2020
Ulster got their second try a minute after the restart, Billy Burns offloaded out of a tackle to Will Addison who wrong-footed Gabe Hamer-Webb and drew the last defender before releasing winger Baloucoune to dart over in the corner. Cooney added the extras.
Freddie Burns landed a long-range penalty for the visitors three minutes later after Sean Reidy was guilty of not rolling away.
Addison got Ulster’s third try in the 47th minute as Stockdale put the full-back into space to dot down. Cooney failed with the conversion.
Bath set up a tense finish by scoring a second try with 15 minutes remaining. From a well worked five metre line-out replacement hooker Batty was propelled over the line. Freddie Burns missed the conversion.
Lock Kieran Treadwell had a try disallowed for Ulster by the TMO in the 68th minute for a forward pass in the build up.
Batty was red-carded with eight minutes remaining for a no arms tackle on Cooney, Billy Burns slotted over the resulting penalty.
Ulster turned a kickable penalty down in the last minute to go for the corner, Bath stole the line out and Hamer-Webb broke out of defence getting to the halfway line before being stopped.
In the other Pool 3 encounter, tabletoppers Clermont Auvergne proved too strong for Harlequins as they claimed a 26-19 triumph at Twickenham Stoop. Morgan Parra was Clermont’s hero as he finished with a 16-point haul courtesy of four penalties and two conversions, and Peter Betham and Apisai Naqalevu scored their tries.
For Quins, Luke Northmore, Alex Dombrandt and Brett Herron scored five-pointers and Herron also added two conversions.