Heineken Cup:Pienaar stars in Ulster win



Ulster beat Montpellier 27-16 on Friday, but failed to grab a crucial fourth try which would have guaranteed them a European Cup quarterfinal place.

The Irish province racked up a fifth win in five Pool Five matches to give them a seven-point lead over Leicester Tigers.

However, the English giants should close the gap with a win at group whipping boys Treviso on Saturday, before a potential pool decider at Welford Road against Ulster next weekend.

Ulster had looked in control, but never particularly comfortable in the first 40 minutes at Ravenhill against a Montpellier side which had lost six of their last seven matches.

Having slipped down 0-3 to a seventh-minute penalty from Eric Escande, Ulster were swiftly on top with two tries in three minutes.

Paddy Jackson’s accurate cross-field kick was calmly collected by flank Robbie Diack to dive over for his third career try in the tournament.

South African scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar kicked a difficult conversion from tight on the touchline for a 7-3 lead.

Pienaar added his team’s second try on 26 minutes after collecting his own kick ahead.

His simple conversion made it 14-3 but Ulster took their foot off the gas and ended up going in at just 17-13 in front at the interval.

Montpellier lock Robins Tchale-Watchou burst through for 14-8 with Escande adding the extras.

Pienaar and Escande then exchanged penalties before half-time.

A penalty apiece followed early in the second half before former All Blacks prop John Afoa barrelled through for Ulster’s third try just before hour mark.

Pienaar added the conversion for a personal haul of 17 points on the night but some dogged defence from Montpellier prevented Ulster from grabbing the bonus point try.

* In Friday’s other match, Scarlets beat Racing Metro 19-13 in Pool Four.

The result means Scarlets’ quarterfinal hopes stay alive for another day at least, after they stunned Racing at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir.

ASM Clermont Auvergne remain in the driving seat to qualify from Pool Four, with Harlequins hot on their heels ahead of Saturday’s mouth-watering match up at the Twickenham Stoop, but Scarlets are mathematically still in with a shout of a place in the last eight.

Young wing Kristian Phillips was their match winner, with his stunning solo score just past the hour handing them a six-point lead that they never relinquished.

Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland picked up the Man of the Match award with an assured display that ended with a 14-point haul courtesy of four penalties from five attempts and the conversion of Phillips’ try.

British & Irish Lions stars Jonny Sexton and Mike Phillips stood out for Racing, with the scrumhalf grabbing his side’s early try, but the Scarlets deservedly stopped a run of six straight defeats.

Friday’s scores and scorers!

Ulster 27-16 Montpellier

The scorers:
For Ulster:
Diack, Pienaar, Afoa
Cons: Pienaar 3
Pens: Pienaar 2

For Montpellier:
Con: Escande
Pens: Escande 3

Racing Métro 92 13-19 Scarlets

The scorers:
For Racing Métro 92:
Con: Sexton
Pens: Sexton 2

For Scarlets:
Con: Priestland
Pens: Priestland 4

By: Rugby365

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. @DavidS: Well David the way the game Between Toulon and Cardiff is going this is quite a kak league and standard are pretty kak, they play Stormers rugby.

    Don’t know why certain people on this site and others make such a big thing about these guys.

  2. @Duiwel:


    ‘Never gets firing’?

    A 70% win ratio in 75 caps shows you up…

    Heyneke Meyers agrees, Ulster definitely agree… and it seems Toulon with their huge offers agree too…

    Dud my arse…


    “quite a kak league and standard are pretty kak.”

    Yeah everyone kept saying that until two of their 2nd teams beat the Boks.

  3. @Jacques(Bunny):

    Lucky for the Boks they no longer play mid-weekers any more eh?

    I reckon collectively a few of the EC teams would beat a few of the 6N teams every now and again…

    As for their style of play… well that’s down to Northern Hemisphere winter conditions…