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Ulster hit back to beat Montpellier and claim quarter-final spot

By PA
(Photo By Shaun Roy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster came from behind to earn a 40-17 victory over 14-man Montpellier and book their place in the last eight of the European Challenge Cup.

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The visitors went into the half-time break 17-7 down as tries from Paul Willemse and Aubin Eymeri helped Montpellier surge into the lead, but Paul Addison touched down just before the half-hour mark to claw them back into the contest.

The major turning point came just after half-time as try-scorer Willemse saw red for a high tackle on Addison. Ulster took advantage of the extra man as Robert Baloucoune, Roger Wilson, David McCann and Stuart McCloskey all went over to set up a clash with Clermont in the quarter-finals.

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Sharks scored seven tries as they cruised to a convincing 47-3 win over Zebre at Kings Park Stadium.

Tiff Eden slotted a penalty to give the Italian side an early lead but that was as good as it got as they failed to add to their score.

Vincent Tshituka flew over the whitewash for the first try of the game and Werner Kok and Corne Rahl scored two more to give Sharks a commanding first-half lead.

They showed no mercy after the break as Aphelele Fassi, Phepsi Buthelezi, Ethan Hooker and Curwin Bosch tries secured a comfortable victory.

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J
Jon 23 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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