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Ulster hand Stuart Lancaster's Racing 92 second successive Champions Cup defeat

By Rugby365
Racing92's French scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec dives in to score their first try during the European Rugby Champions Cup pool 2 rugby union match between Ulster Rugby and Racing 92 at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, on December 16, 2023. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Ulster bounced back from defeat with a 31-15 victory over French Top 14 leaders Racing 92 at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday.

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Ulster scored four tries in the Champions Cup Pool Two battle to leave Racing 92 without a win after two games.

The big talking point leading up to the match was the presence of double World Cup winners Steven Kitshoff in Ulster’s starting line-up and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi in Racing 92’s set-up.

Kitshoff’s Irish side eventually walked away with the win.

John Cooney kicked a penalty and conversions for all of Ulster’s tries, three of which came in the first-half courtesy of an electric opening 40 from the hosts.

Flank Nick Timoney, centre Stuart McCloskey and No.8 Matty Rea all went over in the first period while Racing 92 were limited to only one unconverted score via scrumhalf Nolann Le Garrec, who missed the extras for all three of the visiting side’s tries.

Racing 92’s performance was riddled with penalty errors, and early on in the second period, they were punished once more as Timoney scored his second try in the 47th minute.

Eventually, the French side regrouped, Janick Tarrit dotting down after a strong maul, but the TOP14 side were still well adrift.

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Momentum was now in Racing 92’s favour and another try became inevitable, Tarrit scoring his second as the French side’s pack became dominant, but any real hopes of a Racing 92 comeback were shattered when the French side conceded yet another penalty, Cooney opting to kick what would prove to be the final three points of the game.

Ulster now look ahead to January and a Round three home match against Stade Toulousain, while Racing 92 will surely need a win away against Bath.

For Ulster:
Tries: Timoney 2, McCloskey, Rea
Cons: Cooney 4
Pen: Cooney

For Racing 92:
Tries: Tarrit 2, Le Garrec

Teams

Ulster: 15 Mike Lowry, 14 Rob Baloucoune, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Matty Rea, 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Iain Henderson (captain), 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tom Stewart, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Harry Sheridan, 21 Nathan Doak, 22 Jake Flannery, 23 Stewart Moore.

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Racing 92: 15 Max Spring, 14 Henry Arundell, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Antoine Gibert, 9 Nolann le Garrec, 8 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Cameron Woki, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Janick Tarrit, 1 Hassane Kolingar.
Replacements: 16 Eddy Ben Arous, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Gia Kharaishvili, 19 Fabien Sanconnie, 20 Ibrahim Diallo, 21 Maxime Baudonne, 22 Tristan Tedder, 23 Inia Tabuavou.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Joe James (England), Jonathan Healy (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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