Thursday 23 November 2017

Making the last eight is within reach for Ulster

Ulster took a giant step towards the Heineken Cup quarter-finals by taking five points off Leicester Tigers in a 41-7 performance oozing class and authority in Pool Four at Ravenhill last night.

This means Ulster hold a seven-point lead over the English Premiership club with Clermont-Auvergne, eight back, the only danger to their progress before the French clashed with Aironi in Italy this afternoon.

The pair of aces behind the pack were scrum-half Ruan Pienaar, who struck eight from 10 kicks, and two-try hero Andrew Trimble.

The flashing feet of wing Craig Gilroy and the quick-thinking of replacement nine Paul Marshall ensured the bonus point that knocked Leicester, the two-time winners, out of the competition.

Ireland wing Trimble staked his claim for the Six Nations with two expert finishes into the right corner outside the grasp of the formidable Alesana Tuilagi, the second coming crucially on the crest of half-time before Leicester imploded.

Elsewhere, former Ireland scrum-half Michael Bradley is on the brink of taking Edinburgh to the last eight for just the second time by virtue of their stunning 27-24 defeat of Racing Metro in Paris last night.

There was no time left for play when replacement fly-half Phil Godman launched a drop goal to take them four points clear of Cardiff Blues, who travelled to London Irish today, at the head of Pool Two.

The Ospreys extended their tenuous hopes in Pool Five by shredding Benetton Treviso 44-17 at the Liberty Stadium in Wales to leave them sandwiched in between leaders Saracens and Biarritz Olympique, who compete tomorrow in Watford.

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