Home Rugby Stockdale Soars As Ulster Seal Historic Win In Belfast

Stockdale Soars As Ulster Seal Historic Win In Belfast

An enthralling contest was played out at Kingspan Stadium today as Ulster overcame Racing 92 in a match that will go down in Belfast folklore.

Buoyed by an electric atmosphere, Ulster started the brighter of the two sides and Billy Burns converted the first kick of the game after 100 seconds to send them into a 3-0 lead.

Ulster never let up and continued to dominate the opening exchanges and they got their just rewards on eight minutes when Robert Baloucoune went over the line on his European debut to cap a dream start for the northern province.

ulster racing champions cup

Racing attempted to get back into the game but an impressive turnover from Marcell Coetzee helped Ulster regain control.

The Ulster men went right back at the French giants, through the ever-impressive Will Addison who set up try sensation, Jacob Stockdale, to score Ulster’s second five-pointer after just 13 minutes.

It was the start that Ulster’s dominance deserved, however, two missed conversions by Billy Burns – who it turned out was carrying an injury – meant the story of this game was far from being told.

Zebo and co. tried desperately to claw their way back as the first half approached the mid-way point, Ulster continued to stand strong to the French pressure, but Racing showed their class as Virimi Vakatawa barged over to get his side up and running.

ulster racing champions cup

Ulster very nearly could have had a third try as Jacob Stockdale chased a kick into the scoring zone before slipping at the vital moment. Ulster did, however, have a penalty which was converted by Will Addison who had now taken over the kicking duties from Burns.

Trailing by 11 points as the half approached Racing needed a score to keep them in the game, and they got it through the Cork man Simon Zebo who made a try-scoring return to Irish soil.

ulster racing champions cup

Finn Russell failed to convert from the penalty leaving Ulster six points ahead.

Half-time – Score Ulster 16 Racing 92 10

The second half picked up where the first left off, at a frantic pace.

Ulster extended their lead through Stockdale who showed trademark pace chipping over the top, three Racing players followed the kick and looked to have it covered, but sometimes the ball just wants to find you again, and find Stockdale it did as he went over for his second try of the game, before Addison converted to leave the red men 13 points ahead.

ulster racing champions cup

Ulster’s defence held strong, but Racing where never going to go away and their pressure told as Brice Dulin ran over to peg the score back once more.

Finn Russell missed the conversion which marked his third of the night meaning Ulster held an eight-point lead going into the final quarter.

This enthralling contest took another twist as Racing mounted the pressure on Ulster, finding key matchups out wide, a lovely display of quick hands saw Olivier Klemenczak touch down to put the minimum between the sides.

It looked like Racing had nicked it with five minutes to go but a forward pass rule out the score before Ulster, who were driven on by fantastic home support, eventually turned the ball over.

Addison kicked to touch before Ulster regained control from the lineout before winning a penalty which Addison converted.

ulster racing champions cup

Enough time remained for Racing to have another crack at stealing it, but the kick landed in Addison’s arms who sent the ball into touch and seal a monumental victory in Belfast that will go a long way towards securing Ulster a first quarter-final spot in five years.

Final score: Ulster 26 Racing 92 22

 

About Michael Corry

Digital Sports Journalist based in Dublin. Proud 'Nordy' who loves anything Armagh related. Hit me up if you have a unique story to tell. Twitter: @Corry_10 Instagram: @Corry_10