Ulster v Bordeaux Bègles

Ulster playing for pride as they wrap up their European campaign at Kingspan Stadium versus Bordeaux

John O'Sullivan Sat, Jan 21
LIVE: Ulster v Bordeaux Bègles

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  • Hello and welcome to the Irish Times live blog, well the first of two actually, as I'll be also watching how Munster fare at home to Racing 92 at Thomond Park (5.30) but first it's Ulster's game against Bordeaux-Begles at the Kinspan stadium (1.0). John O'Sullivan here, and hopefully I''l be watching a couple of wins. I don't think there is any doubt about the game in Limerick but Ulster could do with a morale boosting win.  
  • Many of the headlines in the previews have centred on the battle of the outhalves, Paddy Jackson for Ulster and Ian Madigan for Bordeaux-Begles. Johnny Sexton's calf injury has given this tete-a-tete a little extra spice in an Ireland context.  
  • Here are the teams.


    Ulster: Charles Piutau; Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Andrew Trimble (c); Paddy Jackson, David Shanahan; Andy Warwick, Rory Best, Jonny Simpson, Robbie Diack, Franco Van Der Merwe, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Sean Reidy.


    Replacements: John Andrew, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Kieran Treadwell, Clive Ross, Paul Marshall, Brett Herron, Craig Gilroy


    Bordeaux-Bègles: Geoffrey Cros; Nans Ducuing, Jean-Baptiste Dubié, Joe Wakacegu, Blair Connor; Ian Madigan, Yann Lesgourgues; Steven Kitshoff, Clement Maynadier (c), Marc Clerc, Tom Palmer, Berend Botha, Louis Madaule, Loann Goujon, Marco Tauleigne.


    Replacements: Benat Auzqui, Sébastien Taofifenua, Vadim Cobilas, Joe Edwards, Hugh Chalmers, Julien Audy, Simon Hickey, Julien Rey.


    Referee: Matthew Carley (England).


    Assistant ref: Luke Pearce (England), Assistant ref: Gareth Copsey (England).


     TMO: Geoff Warren (England).


    Citing Commissioner: Richard McGhee (Scotland)


  • Madigan has taken some flack recently in regard to his performances but he played injured inititally and then had a month off to try and correct a stomach muscle/groin issue. A good display today would be timely on so many levels.  
  • Speaking of the young Madigan, here he is arriving at the ground.  
  • The teams are making their way onto the pitch.  
  • Bordeaux-Begles can still qualify for the knockout stages if they win with a bpnus points and a mammoth score. Not realistic.  
  • Time to Stand Up For the Ulstermen as the Ravenhill crowd roar.  
  • Madigan gets the match under way and Ulster scrumhalf Dave Shanahan with an error. BB scrum on the Ulster 22.  
  • Chris Henry penalised for not rolling away in the tackle. Madigan gets an easy early chance.  
  • Madigan lands the penalty from 18 metres.  
  • 2 mins: Ulster 0 Bordeaux-Begles 3

  • Ulster manage a bit of continuity and then Paddy Jackson shoves through a neat kick that takes play to about 30-metres from the BB line.  
  • Good energy from the Ulster defence as a coach might say.  
  • It's a bit like a training spin at the moment, patterned attack and defence.  
  • Right there were 320 phases in that last passage of play and BB managed to make a few metres before Ulster turned it over at a ruck and then knocked on. BB scrum on the Ulster 22.  
  • Good sweeping from Shanahan snaffles possession but then a poor clearance kick. BB are back in possession again. The French side's back play is pedestrian to say the least so hardly surprising they take a lot of ball around the sides with their pack. Madigan pushes an inside pass forard and gets the bird from the crowd.  
  • TRY:  Yann Lesgourgues
  • 12 mins: Shanahan with an error from a scrum inside his own 22 and his opposite number  Yann Lesgourgues pounces to pick up and fend off Jackson for the try. Madigan lands the conversion to tepid applause.  
  • Ulster supporters would like to see more of this.  
  • Poor old Dave Shanahan with a handling error. It's been a tough start for the young man.  
  •  12 mins: Ulster 0 Bordeaux-Begles 10

  • Ulster win lineout, maul, it's brought down illegally so Jackson with the crosskick but it doesn't do Tommy Bowe any favours. Back for the penalty.  
  • Lineout to Robbie Diack, Iain Henderson with a surge, Shanahan and Jackson put Trimble over on the blindside. It's hos 26th try in Europe and his 70th in total for Ulster. Jackson misses the conversion.  
  • 19 mins: Ulster 5 Bordeaux-Begles 10

  • Ulster make a mess of the re-start and nearly concede another try. Madigan's long pass almost intercepted. Wrong option there. Shanahan with the knock-on going for the intercept. BB scrum. Henderson with good defence forces a turnover scrum.  
  • Wow. BB shove Ulster off their own ball six metres ffrom the home side's line and that looks like a try.  
  • Referee Matthew Carley asks if there is any reason why he can't award a try.  
  • TRY:  Marco Tauleigne
  • BB number eight Marco Tauleigne with the try, Madigan converts.  

    22 mins: Ulster 5 Bordeaux-Begles 17

  • Ricky Lutton on for Johnny Simpson in the frontrow. A reaction to the scrum issues.  
  • Nice footwork Paddy Jackson.  
  • Nice play from Ulster but another mistake coughs up possession.  
  • Reviewing Tom Palmer tackle on Henry. It's a penalty.  
  • Right call by officials. Penalty only. The player who Palmer fell over as he makes the tackle accentuates the tip.  
  • Ulster kick to corner, Diack takes, maul, Stuart McCloskey and Tommy Bowe crash it up and then Franco van der Merwe forces his way over for the try.  

    TRY:  Franco van der Merwe

  • Jackson adds an excellent conversion.  


    29 mins: Ulster 12 Bordeaux-Begles 17

  • Love watching Charles Piutau
  • BB counter-ruck and get a penalty.  
  • Madigan takes on the penalty from 40 metres. Lovely strike.  

    PENALTY: Madigan.  

  • 31 mins: Ulster 12 Bordeaux-Begles 20

  • Great Jackson tackle on Lesgourges saves a try.  Steven Kitshoff with the intercept inisde the BB 22 and three phases later Jackson saves the day down the other end of the ptich.  
  • High tackle and Jackson decides to go to the corner rather than kick at goal.  
  • Lineout, maul, Best to Cave one metre from the BB line and it's dropped. Dreadful.  
  • In fairness to Cave it wasn't a great offload but he wasn't expecting it and that was the real issue.  
  • Another Ulster knock-on. So many errors, most of them basic and careless.
  • Sébastien Taofifenua has come on for Kitshoff. He's just the 21 stone.  
  • Brilliant break from Jackson, held up a metre short but Ulster butcher the gilt edged chance. Geoffrey Cros gets the bin for not rolling away from the tackle. Three unmarked Ulster players as Cave tried to flick on the pass. Jackson kicks the penalty; it's the last play of the half.  


  • PENALTY: Jackson.
  • 40 mins: Ulster 15 Bordeaux-Begles 20

  • HALFTIME:  Ulster 15 Bordeaux-Begles 20
  • Ulster will missing out on tries on three occasions during that half that would have put a different compexion on the game. BB have taken their chances some of which have come from the generosity of the home side.  
  • Ulster's defence has been brittle, the scrum has been mashed on a couple of occasions, the handling has been slipshod at times and the decision making flawed yet for all these self inflicted woes Ulster should still be ahead.  
  • Jackson is winning his batte with Madigan. The Ulster outhalf has been excellent for the most part, including one superb break. Iain Henderson has been Ulster's standout player while McCloskey, Best and Diack have all been conspicuously prominent.  
  • Madigan has been fine for BB but they don't carry the same threat behind the scrum apart from their teenage fullback Cros, who was sent to the sin bin just before the half-time whistle.  
  • Ulster will have a man advantage for the start of the second half. You can see that they are a little short on confidence and that's pockmarked their performance and it a contributory factor to some of the mistakes.  
  • That by the way is the half-time score.  
  • Ready to go for the second half. Jackson gets the game going.  
  • Ulster had 10 handling errors to one in that first half.  
  • Tough for young Shanahan but as they say 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' Not sure anytone should mention that to him at the moment though.  
  • Brilliant work from Henderson to force scrum turnover.  
  • McCloskey has given Ulster good gainlines all afternoon. Jackson with another superb outside break. BB offside. Penalty. Lineout.  
  • Another Ulster penalty. Go to corner again.  
  • Best overthrows......well nobody got in the air but Ulster get the ball back and Piutau almost over but knocks on metres from the line.  
  • BB scrum five metres from their line.  
  • WARNING: Henderson makes an error. So he's not infallible then. He's pretty close though.  
  • Stonking tackle by Trimble. Henderson with the poach at the ensuing ruck.
  • Bowe's pop-up to Trimble goes forward. Another handling error.  
  • BB's Blair Connor loses possession. Scrappy stuff.  
  • BB  Julien Audy for Lesgourges.  
  • Super high take by Trimble, good work again by Best and Henderson. Ulster penalty. Jackson points at the posts.  
  • Jackson misses penalty. Not good.  
  • Clive Ross for van der Merwe. 54 minutes gone.  
  • High tackle on Trimble. Try saving tackle by Madigan on Bowe. Wonderful from the outhalf who times his tackle from behind brilliantly having been initially stepped.  
  • Marshall bundled into touch. Trimble with the initial break before offloading to Bowe. Should have led to a try. Ulster with 76 per cent possession.  
  • Ulster go to the corner. Ross wins the ball. Maul.  
  • Another great carry from McCloskey and Cave may have got the ball down against the base of the post. Great work from the two Ulster centres.  
  • TRY: Cave.  

    58 mins: Ulster 22 Bordeaux-Begles 20

  • Jackson adds the conversion. Marshall has been lively since his introduction. McCloskey, Jackson and Henderson the key players for Ulster this afternoon.  
  • New Zealander Simon Hickey on for Madigan after 59 minutes. The Irish outhalf will be disappointed not to be given longer.  
  • Ulster make another change.
  • Lighter moment there for Ireland caotain Rory Best. Balance issues.  
  • Silly from Marshall, kicks out on the full. There are 14-minutes remaining.  
  • Handling error by Cave turns over possession.  
  • Ulster would like this man to get more ball.  
  • High tackle by McCloskey. Yellow card coming up.  
  • No yellow. Just a penalty. Fair enough on second viewing. Hickey from 20 metres in front of the posts.  
  • PENALTY: Hickey
  • 70 mins: Ulster 22 Bordeaux-Begles 23

  • Ulster's discipline has let them down in the last 90 seconds. Another penalty and BB go to the corner.  
  • Ross offside. That's a third penalty and Hickey will go for the posts.  
  • PENALTY: Hickey
  • 73 mins: Ulster 22 Bordeaux-Begles 26

  • Ulster lots of possession but going backwards.  
  • Best, McCloskey and Henderson wth multiple carries.  
  • That's poor again from Marshall, no look flip inside, leads to accidental crossing.  
  • There are two minutes left and Ulster trail by four points.  
  • It would be a ninth defeat in the last 13 matches.  
  • BB winding down the clock with a series of pick and jams.  
  • BB concede penalty.  
  • Ulster will go to the corner.  
  • Fantastic kick from Jackson. Lineout five metres out.  
  • PALMER offside, that's the fourth time he's done that. Penalty and Ulster go to corner. Henderson drops the ball but Henry rescues.  
  • Henderson held up, maul called, whistle and it's the final one. Silence at the Kingspan stadium.

    FULLTIME:  Ulster 22 Bordeaux-Begles 26

  • Clermont Auvergne 48 Exeter Chiefs 26. That means Clermont will be number one seeds in the quarter-finals no matter what else happends over the weekend.  
  • The disappointment continues for Ulster. Enough line breaks and creativity to win a couple of matches but basic errors and brittle defence cost them dearly.  
  • Jackson, Henderson, McCloskey and Best all stood out in a positive manner but needed better support from some of their team-mates. Ulster will be a much better side when their injury problems ease a little but they badly need some the confidence fillip of a good win.  
  • In terms of the battle of the outhalves at the Kingspan, Jackson wins that tussle with Madigan, who was again replaced before the hour mark. It's tough on the latter because he did nothing wrong really but Ibanez has already stated that he expects more from Madigan.  
  • Thank you for your company. I'm off for an ice bath but I'll be back in a couple of hours to live blof Munster v Racing 92. We'll have a mach report up here in a few minutes.