Ulster v Clermont Auvergne

Clermont provide a huge challenge for depleted Ulster in Kingspan Stadium Champions Cup clash

Eamon Donoghue Sat, Dec 10
 
LIVE: Ulster v Clermont Auvergne

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  • Hello and Welcome...  Can a depleted Ulster upset the odds at Kingspan Stadium as French giants Clermont Auvergne come to town?


    Ulster coach Les Kiss is without several front-line players including Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Stuart Olding, Franco van der Merwe, Alan O’Connor and Roger Wilson. Their opposition sit top of pool 5, with a 43 point scoring difference in their favour.


    It's a good job matches aren't won on paper!

    Kick-off is at 1pm. Be sure to get in touch throughout - via either Twitter (@DonoghueEamon) or the comments section ('Contact Us' tab).


    Ulster  v Clermont, Kingspan Stadium (1.0, live on Sky Sports)

  • Teams are as follow:


    ULSTER:  C Piutau; T Bowe, L Marshall, S McCloskey, L Ludik; P Jackson,  R Pienaar; K McCall, R Best (capt), W Herbst;  P Browne, R Diack;  I Henderson,C Henry,  S Reidy.  Replacements:  R Herring, A Warwick, R Ah You,  K Treadwell,  C Ross, P Marshall, D Cave, J Stockdale.  




    CLERMONT AUVERGNE:  S Spedding, D Strettle, R Lamerat, W Fofana, N Abendanon;  C Lopez,  M Parra;  R Chaume,  B Kayser,  D Zirakashvili; F van der Merwe, S Vahaamahina; D Chouly (capt), A Lapandry, P Yato.  Replacements:  Y Beheregaray,  E Falgoux,  C Ric,  S Timani, C Gerondeau, L Radosavljevic, B Stanley, A Raka.  


    Referee:  W Barnes  (England).

  • A quick look at Pool 5 as it stands..
    A quick look at Pool 5 as it stands..
  • "Ulster have enjoyed many great European nights in Belfast and a win would compare favourably but it’s hard to look past Clermont in the prevailing circumstances.."

    Read John O'Sullivan's preview in full here

  • Ulster head coach Les Kiss assesses the opposition during the week:

    “We’ve had a reality check when we looked at the video this week. They are a team that can attack you from anywhere. They use their massive pack to [good] effect. [Morgan] Parra, [Camille] Lopez in the halves pulling the strings, they can shift it wide pretty quick and when you have [Wesly] Fofana and [Remi] Lamerat in the centre; they’re a brilliant team to watch.  

    “We have to make them not so brilliant on Saturday. That’s what  Europe  is."

  • Clermont fans enjoying the Belfast beer! Seven minute 'till kick-off
    Clermont fans enjoying the Belfast beer! Seven minute 'till kick-off
  • The results so far in this pool. Clermont certainly the form side
    The results so far in this pool. Clermont certainly the form side
  • Teams are out on the field - and we are about to get underway!
  • A final look at the teams:  

    ULSTER:    C Piutau; T Bowe, L Marshall, S McCloskey, L Ludik; P Jackson,  R Pienaar; K McCall, R Best (capt), W Herbst;  P Browne, R Diack;  I Henderson,C Henry,  S Reidy.  Replacements:    R Herring, A Warwick, R Ah You,  K Treadwell,  C Ross, P Marshall, D Cave, J Stockdale.  

    CLERMONT AUVERGNE:    S Spedding, D Strettle, R Lamerat, W Fofana, N Abendanon;  C Lopez,  M Parra;  R Chaume,  B Kayser,  D Zirakashvili; F van der Merwe, S Vahaamahina; D Chouly (capt), A Lapandry, P Yato.  Replacements:    Y Beheregaray,  E Falgoux,  C Ric, S Timani, C Gerondeau, L Radosavljevic, B Stanley, A Raka.  

    Referee:    W Barnes  (England).

  • Camille Lopez gets us underway and Clermont have torn right into the Ulster defence. Into the Ulster 22' now
  • TRY for Clermont, Lopez with the wonderful kick-off, and a crucial pop pass.  Peceli Yato finishes the move to cross over under the posts
  • Ulster 0 Clermont 7 (2') Morgan Parra with the conversion, what a start by the visitors. Lopez to the fore in that try
  • What a start to this game! Inside six minutes Ulster have added a try of their own. Beautiful timed offload by Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall bursts free!
  • Ulster 7 Clermont 7 (7') Ulster come roaring back. It comes from a fine break by Sean Reidy. Then Jackson frees up Marshall who runs a great line and crosses over in acres of space.  

    Jackson adds the conversion

  • This is end to end. Clermont are back in the Ulster 22' already. They win a penalty as Ulster hold on. Their backline looking lethal here
  • Ulster 7 Clermont 10 (9') Parra taps over the penalty. Clermont claim the kick-off and come again.
  • Good pressure from Ulster and Ruan Pienaar chases his own kick but Clermont recover and are back in Ulster territory
  • Ulster 7 Clermont 10 (14') Ulster turnover, and Pienaar sets up a quick break away. Charles Piutau dances free and a combination of offloads almosts finds Pienaar again on his own with the tryline in sight. But Clermont hold them up. Advantage Ulster...
  • What rugby! Pienaar with a crossfield hanging kick - Tommy Bowe grabs it gaelic football style, and pops off to Iain Henderson for a TRY. Incredible game. End to end
  • Ulster 12 Clermont 10 (16') Jackson fails to add the two points. But that was an outstanding try. From Piutau's initial break, to that catch by Bowe. Incredible skills on show here in Belfast with both teams going for it
  • Jackson kicks a penalty to the right corner. Line-out is well taken by Henderson and Ulster creep into the Clermont 22
  • Ulster 15 Clermont 10 (21') Ulster really stretching Clermont with quick ball from the breakdown. This time Piutau can't get the final pass off in time. But it's brought back for an Ulster penalty. Which Jackson converts
  • Ulster in possession again on half way. Looking really comfortable with ball in hand. But Pienaar knocks on to hand Clermont a scrum. Brilliant piece of footwork in that play though from Piutau, leaving Wesley Fofana swiping at fresh air. He's been at the heart off most of Ulster's good play early on
  • Clermont have the advantage, as Ulster spoil the breakdown with Clermont breaking into their 22. Lopez is down receiving treatment, he drew in the tackle there to set Fofana away. They kick for the corner but Ulster turnover
  • Ulster 15 Clermont 10 (28') Clermont break into the Ulster half after a sloppy Ulster lineout, and Fofana weaves his way through the host's defence. But he knocks on in his effort to offload in the tackle. Scrum Ulster
  • Clermont steal the scrum and have the ball in the Ulster 22. Beautiful soft hands on the right wing, Parra to Scott Spedding. And a second Clermont TRY
  • Ulster 15 Clermont 18 (31') Parra misses the difficult conversion. 33 points in 31 minutes. Quality attacking rugby!
  • Ulster 15 Clermont 18 (33')  Brilliant no-look offload from Bowe to McCloskey. Then Reidy breaks away. And Ulster have possession in the Clermont 22. Looking dangerous
  • Ulster 22 Clermont 18 (35') TRY ULSTER. Jackson chases his own grubber kick (left foot), then kicks on again with his right and touches down. Beautiful balance. He adds the conversion himself
  • Wonderful, important tackle by Sean Reidy on Lopez to force a knock-on. Ulster just inside their own half. Reidy having a fine game.


    Some subsequent foot-tennis ends in an overhit clearing kick by Abendanon and Ulster come back up for a scrum in Clermont's half

  • Ulster 22 Clermont 18 (40')  Another turnover in the Ulster scrum. Fofana breaks away and offloads one handed. Clermont now just outside the Ulster 22
  • HT Ulster 22 Clermont 18 Spedding and Abendanon try to force their way over on the left wing but Ulster force a foot out of touch. And that's it for the first half. And what a first half of rugby it's been!
  • 11 Clermont offloads to Ulster's 7. Both teams really going for it and both looking like scoring every time they get hands on ball
  • Ulster 22 Clermont 18 - Jackson gets the second half underway. Some foot-tennis then ends in a Henderson knock on. He spun off two tackles but couldn't hold on. Clermont scrum
  • Louis Ludik drives Raka out of touch and Ulster now have it in the Clermont half. Paddy Jackson then kicks for the corner. Really turning the screw with that kick
  • Clermont form a maul off the line-out but Henderson and Chris Henry perform an excellent choke tackle. Scrum Ulster. Crucial turnover
  • Ulster 29 Clermont 18 (46') Ulster five metres out. McCloskey is held up, but it comes back to Pienaar who finds Marshall, who in turn spots a gap for his second TRY. Great play from the centres. Marshall's second try. Bonus point secured. Jackson converts
  • This game just keeps on giving "Ulster, Ulster, Ulster" now echoing around Kingspan Stadium. Bonus point secured and they lead by 11
  • Clermont have it on half-way. Henderson, and McCloskey this time, perform another choke tackle. The big Ulster number six is having a storming performance. Scrum Ulster (49 minutes)
  • Penalty Ulster and Jackson kicks for the corner. Jackson thought about going for the posts, but Rory Best directs him towards the corner. Ulster lineout now just inside the Clermont 22
  • Ulster 29 Clermont 18 (51') Ulster maul brings them closer. Right under the posts they're going from right to left though. The pressure tells however as there's a penalty awarded for Clermont taking a man out off the ball. Ulster go for the line again.
  • Another maul. Pienaar to Jackson to Piutau, and WHAT A TRY. He sells two defenders with a dummy pass, burst through another, then cuts back in and crosses over. Sublime!
  • Ulster 34 Clermont 18 (55') And Jackson adds the two points from the right sideline. Ulster are crusing. Rory Best's double call to go for the sideline justified. Piutau take a bow
  • Clermont force it and Chris Henry with a crucial turnover 50m out. This time Jackson optss for the posts.  
  • Ulster have made five turnovers to Clermont's two
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 18 (57') Jackson makes no mistake with the penalty. Ulster claim the kick off and Pienaar forces Clermont back into their own half
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 18 (59') Clermont make their way into the Ulster half, Abendanon breaks away down the left and Rory Best concedes a penalty for coming in from the side. Clermont after the bonus point, and opt for the line-out
  • Rodney Ah You is on in the front row for Ulster (60 minutes).


    Clermont have an overlap on the right but it seems Ulster have held them up. Great defence. TMO will have a look

  • Ulster 39 Clermont 18 (61')  Aka looks to have been held up by Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall. Yes, TMO confirms - no try. Penalty Clermont and they go for the line again.
  • This time there's no doubt about it, some missed tackles by Ulster. Abendanon breaks through for a third Clermont TRY
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 25 (63') Conversion leaves 14 in it. Clermont one try away from the bonus point
  • Penalty Clermont on half way, but Parra taps into his own player and knocks on. Poor decision making by the scrumhalf. And a chance for Ulster to breathe
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 25 (66')  Clermont turnover in the resultant scrum. This time Parra kicks for touch. And a successful line-out brings them into the Ulster 22
  • Lopez to Abendanon, Clermont try to repeat the trick but this time the winger knocks on in contact. Scrum Ulster in their own 22, collapsed though and another Clermont turnover. Ulster really struggling with their own scrum
  • Big, big turnover as Clermont are unable to stabilise a maul from the lineout. Another Ulster scrum, they just about get it out and Pienaar finds Marshall who clears his lines well with his left boot
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 25 (72) Clermont just outside the home team's 22. Great defence though, led by Chris Henry to drive them out. Attempted choke tackle fails however and penalty Clermont. Next penalty and Ulster will be a man down warns the referee
  • Straight off the line-out a combo of Clermont offloads finds Damien Chouly who muscles his way over the line for a fourth TRY. Bonus point confirmed
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 32 (74) Yellow card for Ah You, who has struggled since coming on. Ulster need to hold on here for these final five minutes
  • Big hit by Piutau on Spedding, chasing Pienaar's up and under. Clermont have it just inside their own half. But Parra kicks out on the full. Ulster needed that rub of the green (76')  
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 32 (76') Rob Herring comes on for Rory Best. Ulster win their own lineout on halfway and look to finish strongly
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 32 (78')  Pienaar conducting matters here. Ulster putting it under the jersey. Creeping forward
  • Ulster have held this ball, going from left to right and back the way, for three minutes
  • Ulster 39 Clermont 32 (79') With 20 seconds left Clermont get the turnover. They will have one more chance
  • Iain Henderson named as man of the match
  • Knock on Clermont, Piutau clears his lines. And Ulster have held on for the win!  
  • FT Ulster 39 Clermont 32 - Fofana with a little too much in his offload and the knock on saves 14-man Ulster. Pienaar, Jackson, Piutau, Marshall all to the fore. With Best, Henry and Henderson outstanding up front.


    A fantastic game. Ulster come away with five points, and Clermont with two losing bonus points.

  • That'll be all from us. Thanks for joining us for this wonderful match. Keep an eye out for the match report which will arrive on the site shortly, and until then - It's Munster versus Leicester Tigers. We'll be blogging that also.