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Heineken Cup: Northampton end Ulster's 13-game winning run
Northampton avenged last week's 25-6 defeat by Ulster with a 10-9 victory at Ravenhill that keeps their Heineken Cup hopes alive.
Ruan Pienaar had a chance to kick a penalty three minutes from time that would have extended Ulster's winning run in all competitions to 14 games.
But the South African hooked his attempt wide and the Saints held on for a deserved victory from a scrappy and error-strewn contest.
Few gave Northampton a hope after their four-try demolition in the reverse fixture at Franklin's Gardens, but this was a very different Saints performance from the outset.
They raced out of the traps and created three early opportunities, the best of them wasted by George Pisi when he ignored a three-man overlap to cut back inside and waste the chance in defensive traffic.
But that attack gave Stephen Myler the opportunity to kick the visitors ahead and on 17 minutes Saints got the try their pressure merited when GJ Van Velze crashed over in corner, blasting through Andrew Trimble with a powerful finish.
Myler added the extras and Saints had the start they needed to restore some belief.
Ultimately those 10 points proved enough.
Paddy Jackson's three penalties chipped away at the lead but both sides were unable to turn decent attacking opportunities into more tries, although Tom May came closest, just failing to ground Myler's grubber kick.
Pienaar attempted a penalty from 60 metres just before the hour but was well short.
His chance in the closing moments was a lot easier, although he may have been distracted by a lengthy wait as Tommy Bowe received treatment.
Despite his miss and their first Heineken Cup defeat at Ravenhill for four years, Ulster remain in comntrol of Pool 4 after three wins, but Northampton are still alive heading into round five.
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|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|Sunday 25th January|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|Munster 65 - 10 Sale Sharks|
|Clermont Auvergne 18 - 6 Saracens|
|Bath 20 - 15 Glasgow|
|Montpellier 27 - 26 Toulouse|
|Saturday 24th January|
|Scarlets 3 - 26 Toulon|
|Ulster 26 - 7 Leicester|
|Northampton 8 - 32 Racing Metro 92|
|Benetton Treviso 23 - 20 Ospreys|
|Castres 19 - 47 Harlequins|
|Wasps 20 - 20 Leinster|
|Sunday 18th January|
|Ospreys 9 - 20 Northampton|
|Racing Metro 92 53 - 7 Benetton Treviso|
|Toulouse 18 - 35 Bath|
|Glasgow 21 - 10 Montpellier|
|Saturday 17th January|
|Harlequins 3 - 23 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 13 - 22 Clermont Auvergne|
|Leinster 50 - 8 Castres|
|Toulon 60 - 22 Ulster|
|Saracens 33 - 10 Munster|
|Friday 16th January|
|Leicester 40 - 23 Scarlets|
|Sunday 14th December|
|Scarlets 22 - 13 Ulster|
|Clermont Auvergne 26 - 19 Munster|
|Wasps 44 - 17 Castres|
|Saturday 13th December|
|Leinster 14 - 13 Harlequins|
|Saracens 28 - 15 Sale Sharks|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com