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Ulster run rampant in 6-try win over Harlequins

By Jack Davies
John Cooney's hopes of going to the World Cup with Ireland were dashed by a phone call from Joe Schmidt

Ulster ran in six tries as a stunning second-half performance earned them a 52-24 victory over Harlequins in the Champions Cup on Friday.

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The Irish province won 17-5 at The Stoop last weekend but struggled to impose themselves early on at the Kingspan Stadium, leading 16-12 at the break.

Ulster’s advantage owed much to the boot of John Cooney, with Stuart McCloskey crossing for their only try of the opening period, but the home side were rampant in the second half.

Craig Gilroy, Charles Piutau, Alan O’Connor, Cooney and Andrew Trimble all went over to collect a comfortable victory and a bonus point that draws them to within two points of Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle, who visit Wasps on Sunday.

There was also a bonus point for Quins, for whom Ross Chisholm and Dave Ward added to first-half tries from Marcus Smith and Charlie Walker.

However, that point is just a second of the campaign for winless Quins, who are yet to visit the runaway French pool-toppers.

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Turlough 4 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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