Ulster claim big win over Racing 92 as Bath edge Cardiff thriller

Ulster brushed aside Racing 92 impressively to secure their first win of this season’s Champions Cup; in-form Bath edged Cardiff; holders La Rochelle lost to Stormers; Owen Farrell’s Saracens dispatch Connacht; Bordeaux beat Bristol; Leinster overcome Sale

Last Updated: 16/12/23 10:38pm

 Stuart McCloskey (right) scored one of Ulster's four tries
Stuart McCloskey (right) scored one of Ulster’s four tries

Ulster beat Top 14 leaders Racing 92 31-15 in clinical fashion under the lights as they bounced back from defeat to Bath to boost their Champions Cup hopes.

The Ulstermen were already 7-0 up within four minutes and never looked back despite a late surge from Racing on a special night at Kingspan Stadium.

Bath took a major step towards the knockout phase by beating Cardiff 39-32 in an Arms Park thriller in which their hosts pushed them every step of the way until South African forward Jaco Coetzee touched down twice during the final quarter.

They made it 10 points out of 10, backing up a dominant victory over Ulster by scoring six tries on the road.

Bath made it 10 points from 10 in an impressive start to the Champions Cup
Bath made it 10 points from 10 in an impressive start to the Champions Cup

Champions Cup holders La Rochelle suffered an agonising defeat against the Stormers in Cape Town following a late Andre-Hugo Venter try that Manie Libbok converted to secure a 21-20 victory.

A dramatic final few minutes saw La Rochelle have their third try disallowed and go down to 14 after Joel Sclavi was given a yellow card for a high collision in the build-up, ultimately leading to their second successive defeat of the tournament, six days on from being beaten 16-9 by Leinster.

Meanwhile, Saracens got their quest for a fourth European title back on track by securing a 55-36 triumph over Connacht.

Mark McCall’s team recovered from defeat against the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend to claim a bonus-point triumph, which saw skipper Owen Farrell kicking three penalties and three conversions as Saracens scored 35 unanswered points between the 33rd and 61st minutes.

Bristol suffered a 36-17 defeat to Bordeaux-Begles after their rugby director Pat Lam made 13 changes for the clash at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Only Rich Lane and Magnus Bradbury remained from the starting line-up that edged past Lyon last Saturday and free-scoring Bordeaux took advantage, claiming a bonus-point victory.

An off-colour Leinster overcame a tougher-than-expected challenge from a much-changed Sale Sharks, pulling clear in the second half to seal a 37-27 win.

Source : Sky Sports