Home Rugby Jacob Stockdale And Charles Piutau Light Up The Kingspan As Ulster Overcome Wasps

Jacob Stockdale And Charles Piutau Light Up The Kingspan As Ulster Overcome Wasps

Ulster have recorded a 19-9 victory over last season’s Premiership finalists Wasps in the opening match of the 2017/2018 Champions Cup.  

The opening 40 minutes were forgettable, to say the least. Handling errors and chronic indiscipline ruined the first half as a spectacle. No tries were scored in the first half and to be honest, neither side came very close to doing so.

It wasn’t exactly the perfect advertisement for European club rugby’s top competition but thankfully the packed house in the Kingspan Stadium were treated to a much better showing in the second half.

The teams entered the second period with Wasps leading 6-3 thanks to penalties from Elliot Daly and Jimmy Gopperth, either side of an effort from Ulster’s John Cooney.

15 minutes of the second half elapsed before the game burst into life and it was Charles Piutau and Jacob Stockdale combining for an absolutely wonderful score in the corner which gave the home support something to cheer about, finally.

Piutau picked up the ball in midfield and spotting the narrow defence, he ran at Christian Wade and Willie Le Roux, making them commit, before unleashing Stockdale who used his pace and finishing ability to get over in the corner.

Ulster smelled blood and they got their second try almost immediately after the first. Piutau was creator again as he ran down the touchline before passing to Stockdale who offloaded excellently to big Stuart McCloskey who then crashed over. Cooney missed the conversion and Ulster now had a four-point lead at 13-9 with 20 minutes remaining.

A raft of substitutions were made from both sides and Christian Lealiifano added another two penalties to put the home side out of sight. Wasps tried their best to get back into the game but this is a side clearly lacking confidence and Dai Young’s side have now recorded their fifth consecutive loss.

About Sean McMahon

Sean is Head of Pundit Arena Rugby. Contact him on Twitter here: