Ulster v Exeter Chiefs

After defeat in their opening Champions Cup match, Les Kiss' side need a win at Ravenhill

RuaidhrĂ­ Croke Sun, Oct 23
 
LIVE: Ulster v Exeter Chiefs

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  • 19:00

    Good evening and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of Ulster's Champions Cup clash with Exeter Cheifs at Ravenhill. I'm Ruaidhri Croke and I'll be with you for all of the action this evening as Les Kiss' side look to make up lost ground after an opening day defeat to Bordeaux. You can get involved using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.

    Team news on the way!

  • 19:03

    Ulster:  15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble (c), 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar;  1 Kyle McCall  2 Rory Best, 3 Rodney Ah You, 4 Pete Browne, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 6 Iain Henderson, 7 Sean Reidy, 8 Roger Wilson.

    Replacements:  16 Rob Herring, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Alan O'Connor, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Craig Gilroy, 23 Tommy Bowe.

    Exeter Chiefs:  15 Lachie Turner, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Henry Slade, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Dave Lewis; 1 Moray Low,  2 Jack Yeandle, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Mitch Lees, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Kai Horstmann, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Thomas Waldrom.

    Replacements:  16 Elvis Taione, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Sam Hill, 23 Ollie Devoto.

  • 19:17

    Tonight’s protagonists in Belfast will both be tempted to delve into the “hurt locker” so to speak, following the disappointment of their respective defeats on the opening weekend of the  Champions Cup. There’ll be plenty of angry players marauding around the Kingspan Stadium.

    John O'Sullivan looks ahead to tonight's clash at Ravenhill: Les Kiss wants 'angry' Ulster to get physical against Exeter

  • 19:20
  • 19:27

    So on a poignant and memorable day for Irish rugby, can Ulster finish it off with a win?

    Well they'll certainly fancy their chances against an Exeter team that were thumped by Clermont Auvergne last week and also suffered the double disappointment of losing Luke Cowan-Dickie.

    The bookies have Ulster as the firm favourites to prevail here and Les Kiss will surely be hoping for a comprehensive win with a bonus point.

    Just over 15 minutes until kick-off now!

  • 19:35
    The teams are in the tunnel and we're nearly ready to go! With a trip to Clermont Auvergne coming up you really feel that this is a must-win game for Ulster if they are to have a chance of advancing. It's do or die time, here we go!
  • 19:46
    An impeccably observed minute's silence in honour of Anthony Foley comes to an end and it's almost time for kick off.
  • 19:47
    1 min: The game is underway at Ravenhill!  (Ulster 0 Exeter 0)
  • 19:49
    2 mins: Ravenhill stands and belts out a rendition of the Fields of Athenry in honour of the Munster legend. That was superb. On the pitch Ulster get the first lineout of the game just inside the Exeter 22 but the visitors manage to turn it over and clear.  (Ulster 0 Exeter 0)
  • 19:52
    5 mins: Van der Merwe bursts through the Exeter line and wins a penalty. Paddy Jackson makes no mistake from a central position and it's Ulster who get the first score of the game.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 0)
  • 19:55
    7 mins: Exeter get a penalty in a good position as Reidy strays offside. From the kick Gareth Steenson makes no mistake and levels the scores.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 19:57
    10 mins: A poor lineout from Exeter gifts Ulster the possession and they attack. They're going throigh the phases juts a few metres short of the Exeter tryline...(Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 19:59
    11 mins: And it's spilled right on the line! First Olding went for the gap but was stopped and recycled to Browne who dived for the line but fumbled it. Ulster get the penalty and Jackson kicks for touch, they're looking for an early try here.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 20:01
    13 mins: Exeter are in big trouble now after giving away another penalty by collapsing the maul. Jackson again kicks for touch with either a yellow card or a penalty try surely on the way...(Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 20:03
    15 mins: But the Chiefs manage to get away with it! That was some superb defending as they stopped the maul and then snuffed out the wide attack, forcing an Ulster knock-on and getting the put-in to the scrum.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 20:06
    18 mins: From the scrum the visitors are able to clear and Jackson fumbles in the air, allowing the Chiefs to move into the Ulster half for a 22.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 20:09
    21 mins: Exeter work the scrum well and move into the Ulster 22 where they're going through the phases. Handling is getting increasingly harder however as the rain comes down heavier and heavier and the ball becomes slippy.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 20:12
    23 mins: Superb defending from Ulster diverts the danger and they can clear. It's been a scrappy enough affair so far with both defences coming out on top.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 3)
  • 20:14
  • 20:18
    29 mins: Finally we have another score as Exeter force a penalty inside the Ulster half and Steenson slots it over. This hasn't been the highest class match yet it must be said. Although the weather isn't helping it must also be said.  (Ulster 3 Exeter 6)
  • 20:20

    TRY FOR ULSTER! (REIDY, 31')

    ULSTER 8 EXETER 6

  • 20:22
    32 mins: Wow! What incredible play from Charles Piutau! Ulster were attacking on the halfway line and it didn't look like much was on. That's until Piutau seized the ball and burst through the Exeter line, moving right into their 22 where he offloaded to Reidy who barged his way over the line for the first try of the game. Jackson steps up and converts.  (Ulster 10 Exeter 6)
  • 20:28
    38 mins: Slade kicks through the Ulster backline to set an Exeter attack away but the home side do very well to defend it and force a scrum.  (Ulster 10 Exeter 6)
  • 20:30
    HALF TIME: ULSTER 10 EXETER 6
  • 20:45
    41 mins: Paddy Jackson gets the second half underway!  (Ulster 10 Exeter 6)
  • 20:48
    43 mins: Ross Kane has replaced Rodney Ah You for Ulster while Clive Ross also comes on for Iain Henderson. Ulster are attacking on the edge of the Exeter 22 and, while the rain has stopped, conditions are still extremely tricky.  (Ulster 10 Exeter 6)
  • 20:51
    45 mins: Ulster break through the line and win a penalty. Again Jackson kicks into touch to set up a maul from the lineout.  (Ulster 10 Exeter 6)
  • 20:52
    46 mins: But the Chiefs do a superb job to drag it over the line and into touch. That's excellent defending from them. Ah You has returned for Kane as it was only a blood substitution.  (Ulster 10 Exeter 6)
  • 20:57
    49 mins: Exeter drive Ulster al the way back into their own half but more good defending from the home side forces a turnover and a penalty. It's a long, long way out but a huge kick from Jackson just drops over the bar!  (Ulster 13 Exeter 6)
  • 21:00
    52 mins: Chiefs reduce the defecit to four points via the foot of Steenson after a good attack is rewarded with a penalty. It hasn't been the best rugby of the weekend so far but it's close!  (Ulster 13 Exeter 9)
  • 21:07
    59 mins: Ulster's defence has been very impressive tonight and it foils yet another Exeter attack on the 22 before Jackson kicks to touch. Ulster go through the phases just inside the Chiefs half...(Ulster 13 Exeter 9)
  • 21:10
    61 mins: Olding throws an excellent shimmie and bursts through the Exeter defence and into their 22. He looks a bit indecisive as he slows down and opts for a grubber kick through for Piutau to run on to but Henry Slade wins the chase and is able to touch down.  (Ulster 13 Exeter 9)
  • 21:12
    63 mins: After relentless attack Ulster finally get a deserved penalty and Jackson kicks for the posts but he's pulled it left and wide.  (Ulster 13 Exeter 9)
  • 21:16
    67 mins: We have a game on our hands now for the last 13 minutes! An Exeter attack is foiled inside the Ulster 22 but not without giving away a penalty. Steenson easily slots over and there's now just one point in it!  (Ulster 13 Exeter 12)
  • 21:21
    70 mins: Ulster get another penalty and this could be crucial. Jackson will go for the posts...(Ulster 13 Exeter 12)
  • 21:22
    71 mins: And it's over! Jackson increases the lead to four points with nine minutes to play!  (Ulster 16 Exeter 12)
  • 21:25
    74 mins: An Ulster kick for touch goes out on the full and Exeter get the lineout. They collect and go on the attack with Devoto forcing a penalty. Steenson steps up and slots it over the cut the defecit to one again!  (Ulster 16 Exeter 15)
  • 21:28
    77 mins: Exeter take the lead with a superb Steenson drop kick! What a finish we have to this game!  (Ulster 16 Exeter 18)
  • 21:30
    78 mins: Ulster take the lead with a Jackson drop goal! This is exhgilirating stuff now as Ulster repeat the Chiefs trick to take the lead yet again!  (Ulster 19 Exeter 18)
  • 21:31
    79 mins: Oh my word this is incredible stuff! Exeter go back on the attack and Steenson again drops into the pocket and again goes for a drop goal but it veers right and wide!  (Ulster 19 Exeter 18)
  • 21:32
    FULL TIME: ULSTER 19 EXETER 18!
  • 21:39

    So, that's it then. Ulster just about hang on for a very valuable win thanks to that crucial late drop goal from Jackson.

    It wasn't the best game of rugby but it was an exhilirating finish.

    Match report and reaction from Ravenhill will be available online at irishtimes.com/sport in the next half an hour so stay tuned for that.

    But that's it from me for today on a huge day for Irish rugby. Join us again from 12 midday tomorrow for Leinster's clash with Montpellier.

    Thanks for reading, bye!