Ulster 26-22 Racing 92: Irish province keep Champions Cup play-off hopes alive
Last Updated: 13/01/19 7:34am
Jacob Stockdale shone again for Ulster as he scored two tries in the Irish province's pulsating 26-22 Heineken Champions Cup win over Racing 92 at the Kingspan Stadium.
The Ireland winger scored tries in either half - his second a memorable solo effort - and has scored in every European round so far, with Ulster's other try coming from debutant winger Robert Baloucoune.
The win puts Ulster just three points behind leaders Racing in Pool Four - the French having come away with two bonus points - with just one more round of games to go, meaning Dan McFarland's side are in a strong position to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Racing scored four tries through Virimi Vakatawa, Simon Zebo, Brice Dulin and Oliver Klemenczak, and came back after trailing 23-10 early in the second half, though Finn Russell missed three conversions.
With less than a minute on the clock, Burns had Ulster, who lost John Cooney to injury prior to kick-off, 3-0 ahead after the French were pinged at an early breakdown.
Looking sharp from the off, they scored next when working Baloucoune over in the right corner from a sweeping back move after Kieran Treadwell secured a lineout in Racing's 22.
Burns missed the difficult conversion and then, shortly after Marcell Coetzee had won a penalty at the breakdown after Racing came trundling up to Ulster's line, the Irish province had their second try.
It again came off a lineout and, with Ulster switching the play, Stuart McCloskey linked with Will Addison who, in turn, put Stockdale in space.
The Ireland winger brushed off Antonie Claassen and raced away to the line. Burns, however, was again wide from a difficult angle but Ulster were 13-0 up in as many minutes.
Racing hit back after stealing an Ulster lineout in the home side's 22, with powerful centre Vakatawa smashing through some tired tackles to touch down. Russell failed with the conversion but the Parisian side were back in the game.
Stockdale then lost his footing when all he had to do was dive on an Addison cross-kick which rolled over the Racing tryline, but Ulster were already on a penalty advantage which saw Addison - Burns was receiving attention - land the kick.
Racing had to score next and did when Zebo dived in at the right corner following another series of rumbles from the visitors' pack. However, Russell again failed to convert and the half ended with Ulster leading 16-10.
Seven minutes into the second half and, with Zebo off injured, Stockdale scored his astonishing solo try. Getting the ball on his wing, he rounded Klemenczak and chipped the ball forward. Racing had three defenders around the ball but the bounce eluded them all and Stockdale had his second try. Addison's conversion made it 23-10 to the Irish province.
Racing struck next when full-back Dulin scooted over from an overlap and with a penalty advantage, but, yet again, Russell missed the extras.
Three minutes after the hour, the French had their bonus-point try when substitute Klemenczak scrambled over the line, Teddy Iribaren converting to cut Ulster's lead to just one point.
Racing came again - Juan Imhoff having his 75th-minute try ruled out for a forward pass - but the home side somehow relieved the siege and Addison's last-minute penalty helped run the clock down to a memorable win.