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Heineken Champions Cup: La Rochelle break Ulster hearts in final minute; Ospreys, Saracens, SA's Bulls, Sharks victorious

Heineken Champions Cup Round 3: La Rochelle secure last-16 spot after beating Ulster in very final play; Ulster on verge of elimination; South Africa's Sharks also booked last-16 spot after win over Bordeaux; Bulls beat Exeter; Ospreys, Saracens beat Montpellier, Lyon

Image: Nathan Doak and Ulster were left crushed as La Rochelle scored to win in the very final play, and leave the Irish province on the verge of elimination

La Rochelle broke Ulster hearts in the very final play to steal victory in France and secure themselves a last-16 place, while Ospreys and Saracens posted key wins, as did SA's Bulls and Sharks...

La Rochelle 7-3 Ulster

Ulster suffered Heineken Champions Cup heartbreak after a last-minute La Rochelle try gave the holders a 7-3 victory at Stade Marcel Deflandre.

Nathan Doak kicked a 63rd-minute penalty to put Ulster ahead but the French side snatched it at the end as replacement prop Joel Sclavi crashed over with the clock in the red after several close-range carries.

Antoine Hastoy landed the conversion and Ulster will feel hard done by following a heroic defensive display.

Ulster produced an impressive performance and adapted to the driving wind and rain better than their hosts and had two first-half tries ruled out.

The visitors had lost their previous two games against Sale Sharks and La Rochelle at home in Pool B, and now need a bonus-point win against Sale at home next week and must hope for other results to go their way.

Saracens 48-28 Lyon

Elliot Daly's sublime first-half hat-trick sealed Saracens' qualification to the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup with a 48-28 win over Lyon.

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Saracens, without the suspended Owen Farrell, were at their ruthless best and secured their try bonus point after just 24 minutes when Daly notched his third try of the evening - just eight minutes after his first.

By half-time the home side had scored six tries and led 38-14 thanks to further scores from Alex Lozowski, Marco Riccioni and Andy Christie.

They could not quite match the same levels of intensity in the second half and, through an Ethan Dumortier double, Lyon secured their own bonus point to leave themselves with a small chance of qualification.

Ospreys 35-29 Montpellier

The goal-kicking of full-back Cai Evans proved decisive as Ospreys took a huge step towards qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Heineken Champions Cup with a thrilling 35-29 win over Montpellier in Swansea.

Ospreys were outscored by five tries to four but Evans succeeded with three penalties and three conversions to leave Ospreys with 10 points in Pool B with a game at Leicester still to come.

Alex Cuthbert scored two tries for Ospreys, Justin Tipuric and Morgan Morris the others but Montpellier were unlucky losers on a great night for rugby.

Paul Willemse crossed twice for the French champions with Bastien Chalureau, Thomas Darmon and Cobus Reinach also on the scoresheet. Leo Coly and Anthony Bouthier each added a conversion.

Bulls 39-28 Exeter Chiefs

Exeter captain Henry Slade could miss the start of the Six Nations after he was sent off in a 39-28 defeat to Bulls, where a last-minute try gave the battling Chiefs a bonus point in Pretoria.

England international Slade was handed his marching orders in the second half for a high tackle on Kurt-Lee Arendse, putting his participation at the beginning of this year's Six Nations campaign - which begins next month at home to Scotland - in doubt.

Despite the red card, Exeter finished strongly enough to stay above their opponents in the table with a home game against Castres to come.

It was 20-year-old Welsh lock Dafydd Jenkins who forced his way over in the final seconds for that fourth Exeter try, though the home side scored six on their way to a comfortable victory.

Sharks 32-3 Bordeaux-Begles

Jaden Hendrikse and Marnus Potgieter each scored a pair of tries as the Sharks booked their place in round of 16 with a 32-3 win over Bordeaux-Begles.

It was a third win out of three for the South African franchise in their debut campaign of European rugby with Bordeaux not helping themselves after picking up four yellow cards.

Lionel Cronje kicked an early penalty for Sharks before Hendrikse went over for the opening try from close range.

The hosts were dominant up front and Hendrikse again went over from a driving maul before second row Gerbrandt Grobler powered over.

Maxime Lucu kicked Bordeaux's only points of the game shortly after the break but, with the visitors down to 13 men, wing Potgieter claimed the bonus-point try.

Flanker Siya Kolisi was instrumental in that try and was again the architect of the fifth try as Potgieter strolled in out wide.

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