Wednesday 26 October 2016

Stade kill off Irish hopes for knock-out stages

Les Kiss
Les Kiss

Stade Francais's 36-21 win over Leicester Tigers in Pool 4 of the Champions Cup ended Ulster's interest in Europe and means there will be no Irish presence for the quarter-finals for the first time since 1998.

The French club's victory took them to 19 points, one ahead of Ulster, to ensure an Anglo-French overhaul of the last eight.

There are five English and three French clubs still in the hunt as Leicester will meet Stade for a third time this season and Dan Carter's Racing 92 will host champions Toulon in the top-half of the draw.

Meantime, there will be an English club in the final due to Saracens holding court against Northampton and Leinster's conquerors Wasps entertaining Exeter Chiefs in the bottom half.

Ulster head coach Les Kiss (pictured) had praised his side's efforts after the province defeated Oyannax 56-3 on Saturday at the Kingspan Stadium.

He had trusted it would have been enough to carry them through as a best runner-up.

Alas, it was not to be.

A heavy home defeat to Saracens and the failure to bag a bonus-point win at Oyonnax clearly hurt Ulster's campaign.

The northern province scored tries through Rob Herring, Darren Cave, Rory Scholes, Seán Reidy, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Diack, Ian Humphreys and Jared Payne, while Paddy Jackson and Ian Humphreys were deadly from the ground in what was a rout of the French side which saw the home team bag their bonus point by half-time.

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