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|Home team||Away Team|
||41 - 17||
40 TRY, ULSTER. After 17 phases, Castres lose possession and Ulster begin a counter-attack from their 22 - replacement Luke Marshall turns on the gas before passing to Pienaar who has two defenders to beat but shows exceptional footwork to fool them both and race in 40m for the all-important bonus point try. Brilliant! Jackson hammers the final nail in Castres' coffin and Ulster open their campaign with a comprehensive win.
78 Amazingly, Castres playing the best rugby of the game with 14 men. Kockott has made a real difference since coming on as he fires a pass to Tekori - the visitors keeping the ball alive, determined to have the final say in this match.
75 YELLOW CARD, CASTRES. Just when Castres looked to get some momentum going, prop Grégory Marmoiton is yellow-carded for some off-the-ball work on Pienaar. So Castres to see out the rest of this game - which has become very scrappy - with 14 men.
73 Now Payne finds a gap and links up with Pienaar who in turn makes a basketball pass to replacement Lewis Stevenson. Oh, but the ball is scooped up by a Castres player and all of Ulster's hard work comes undone.
71 Ulster still camped outside Castres' 22 but the hosts are on the backfoot as the visitors' rush defence continues to cause all sorts of trouble for the men in white.
68 Another sub for Castres - Antonie Claassen replaces Yannick Caballero and gets stuck in straight away. Ulster making a lot of errors as the match makes its way into the final 10 minutes. They hosts have lost their rythm somewhat...
66 Scrum feed now for Ulster just outside Castres' 22. Pienaar puts it in but it's messy at the back for the hosts. Kockott does well to steal possession but the visitors could be in trouble as replacement Iosefa Tekori gets called over after coming in from the side and taking a player out without the ball. The crowd are calling for a yellow, but once again Castres just get a slap on the wrist.
63 Replacements now for Ulster as Ruan Pienaar comes on for two-try hero Marshall, and Craig Gilroy replaces Bowe. For Castres, Rory Kockott replaces Lacrampe....
61 PENALTY, ULSTER. Jackson makes sure of the three points, stretching his side's lead to 17 points. 34-17!
60 The crowd boo the ref after Bonello pulls off the same offence as Court, however stays on the field but hands a penalty to Ulster.
58 YELLOW CARD, ULSTER. Trouble for Ulster as prop Tom Court is sin-binned for slowing down the ball. Ulster down to 14 men!
57 Oh the ball wasn't thrown in straight by castres hooker Mathieu Bonello, and Ulster call for a scrum. Marshall puts in a chip over the top... taken in easily by Andreu who tries to sidestep his way through the home side's defence.
55 Paddy Wallace now in possession and the centre puts ball to boot, getting his team out of their 22 and setting up a line-out throw for Castres on half-way.
52 CONVERSION, CASTRES. Teulet makes no mistake with the extras and closes the gap even more. They'll need a few more where that last try came from though... and quick. 31-17!
51 TRY, CASTRES. The TMO is happy with the try, and gives the green light. Just when we thought Castres were down and out, they come storming back once again.
50 Now the Frenchmen put some phases together and it's Englishman Marcel Garvey who powers through two tackles and stretches out for the line... try? We're going upstairs...
48 PENALTY, ULSTER. Jackson makes up for his earlier miss by slotting the ball between the sticks. More points for Ulster. 31-10
45 Castres having to do all the defending so far after the break as Rory Best puts his head down and charges forward. The ref's hand goes up again... another penalty. Castres' ill-discipline costing them dearly as Jackson steps up to the tee.
43 The conversion this time from Jackson shades the uprights. But the Ulstermen are 28-10 ahead early in the second forty. Castres need to score next if they are to stand any chance of winning this match.
42 TRY, ULSTER. Muller instructs Jackson to kick for the corner. Line-out taken in by Tuohy and the forwards get the drive on. Marshall has a go, and keeps on going... try!!! That's his second of the night.
Second half Welcome back! Ulster kick-off the second half, and the hosts win back possession - Iain Henderson breaks up the middle. The flank could go all the way, but runs into contact. The ball gets recycled, spread wide to Bowe who cuts inside and passes to Muller, but the lock can't take. The ball is loose, Castres defenders rush in to try pounce on the pigskin, but the ref awards a penalty to Ulster - the visitors were offside.
40 Ulster want another five-pointer before the break, but they not going to get it as Bowe gets dragged into touch. Entertaining first half, don't miss the second! See you in a bit!
38 PENALTY, ULSTER. Oh dear, Castres' hard work comes undone as Jackson makes it a 13-point lead with his fifth successful kick at goal. 23-10
35 CONVERSION, CASTRES. Brilliant conversion from Teulet and castres close the gap even more. 20-10!
34 TRY, CASTRES. Now the French oufit try a different route as Bernard puts a chip for the corner for winger Marc Andreu to chase and the move pays off as the Test winger runs in for a much-needed touchdown!
30 Scrum-half Thierry Lacrampe goes blind, and nearly slips through but gets held up inches short - Ulster having to do a lot of defending on their line as Yannick Caballero has a go. Crunch! Ulster's defence not giving an inch... for now.
27 Castres seem to have clicked into a higher gear, as the forwards get a maul going. They've made good ground - 15m and counting but the Ulster pack are up to the task and dig in their heels...
24 CONVERSION, ULSTER. Jackson adds the conversion from bang in front, and Castres now find themselves trailing by 17 points in the first half. 20-3!
23 TRY, ULSTER. Castres did well to keep Bowe at bay, but they can't do the same with Paul Marshall as the scrum-half runs in untouched!
21 Ferris picks and goes from the back of a scrum - the Ulster number eight runs into trouble though and it looks like he's lost it before a swarm of white jerseys come in and secure possession - Tommy Bowe breaks the line and races for the corner, but a desperate tackle keeps the Ireland winger out.
19 PENALTY, ULSTER. Now it's Ulster's turn to attack - John Afoa runs into a wall of Castres defenders though and hits the deck. Hands in the ruck, penalty to Ulster and Jackson adds three more. 13-3!
16 Castres centre Seremaia Bai makes some hard yards, and wins a penalty for his team - Iain Henderson not rolling away in the tackle. It gives the visitors a chance to add three more points and close the gap but Pierre Bernard pushes it wide.
13 CONVERSION, ULSTER. Jackson makes a tough conversion from out wide look easy as he adds two more points to his tally.10-3!
12 TRY, ULSTER. Pierre Bernard hoists a high one for Castres, Stephen Ferris takes it in and gives it to Jared Payne at pace. The full-back slices through the castres defence like a hot knife through butter, runs 20-odd metres, draws his man and puts Andrew Trimble in for the opening try of the match. Exceptional try by Ulster!
11 Muller has been very prominant thus far - taking all of Ulster's line-outs and running everything at the Frenchmen. But he gets hit hard in a tackle by former team-mate Pedrie Wannenburg - disloging the ball from his grasp.
9 PENALTY, ULSTER. Paddy Jackson raises the flags with his first penalty attempt of the night, and the scores are level! 3-3
7 Ulster finally give the crowd something to cheer about as Muller charges forward, supported by lock partner Dan Tuohy who steps over two would-be tacklers. Penalty to Ulster and a chance for the hosts to get on the scoreboard.
5 PENALTY, CASTRES. Trouble for Ulster now as the hosts are pinged at the breakdown by ref Andrew Small. Teulet lines it up, and makes no mistakes - first blood to Castres! 0-3
4 Ulster are blown for offsides as Paddy Wallace is a bit too keen on defence. It's too far for three points, so the visitors knock the pigskin into touch.
2 Johan Muller jumps and takes - good work by the skipper. Now Paddy Jackson with his first touch of the ball and he puts in a wayward kick straight into the hands of Romain Teulet who runs it back.
1 And we're under way! Castres kick-off, but the Frenchmen force an early line-out as they knock the ball into touch in an attempt to win the ball back.
Form Buoyed by their run to last season's final and the profound effects of the tragedy which befell Nevin Spence and his family, a strengthened squad and their searing early-season charge to the top of the PRO12 table, it's doubtful whether Ulster have ever begun a Heineken Cup campaign with such a combination of determination and belief. This is the French outfit's seventh Heineken Cup campaign in the last nine years, but in the previous six they have failed to win more than three pool matches once, and have won one of their last 19 away matches in the European Cup.
Welcome! The wait is finally over! Hello and welcome folks to Ravenhill in Belfast for the opening clash of the 2012/13 Heineken Cup between Ulster and Castres!
|Sunday 20th April|
|14:00||Northampton vs London Irish|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|Saturday 3rd May|
|15:00||Bath vs Northampton|
|15:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|15:00||Saracens vs Worcester|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Irish|
|Saturday 10th May|
|15:15||Newcastle vs Exeter|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Bath|
|15:15||Leicester vs Saracens|
|15:15||Worcester vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Northampton vs Wasps|
|15:15||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 19th April|
|Wasps 38 - 30 Gloucester|
|Bath 32 - 20 Worcester|
|Exeter 12 - 55 Sale|
|Friday 18th April|
|Harlequins 24 - 20 Leicester|
|Sunday 13th April|
|London Irish 40 - 12 Newcastle|
|Saracens 28 - 24 Northampton|
|Saturday 12th April|
|Gloucester 17 - 18 Bath|
|Worcester 33 - 38 Exeter|
|Leicester 27 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 11th April|
|Sale Sharks 12 - 27 Harlequins|
|Sunday 30th March|
|Newcastle 12 - 17 Worcester|
|Saturday 29th March|
|Northampton 16 - 22 Leicester|
|Wasps 20 - 32 Saracens|
|Exeter 13 - 14 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 23 - 9 London Irish|
|Friday 28th March|
|Bath 11 - 12 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 23rd March|
|Leicester 45 - 15 Exeter|
|Saturday 22nd March|
|London Irish 23 - 44 Bath|
|Saracens 39 - 17 Harlequins|
|Gloucester 40 - 33 Newcastle|
|Sale Sharks 19 - 6 Northampton|
|Friday 21st March|
|Worcester 11 - 13 Wasps|
|Sunday 2nd March|
|Newcastle 18 - 41 Leicester|
|Saturday 1st March|
|Northampton 39 - 13 Gloucester|
|Exeter 18 - 0 London Irish|
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While Premier League football managers have spent their run-in perfecting the art of ruling themselves out of contention, Nick Evans insists Harlequins are adopting a far more assertive philosophy as their push for an Aviva Premiership play-off berth reaches a crucial juncture.
Sky Sports will offer customers even more top class rugby union from next season, after securing a five-year agreement to show France's Top 14 exclusively live.
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com