European Champions Cup: Harlequins 5-17 Ulster

Jacob Stockdale scored the only try of the first half at Twickenham Stoop
Jacob Stockdale scored the only try of the first half at Twickenham Stoop
European Champions Cup Pool 1
Harlequins (0) 5
Try: Sinckler
Ulster (8) 17
Try: Stockdale Pens: Cooney 4

Ulster revived their hopes of reaching the European Champions Cup last eight with a deserved win which ended any chance Harlequins had of progressing.

Winger Jacob Stockdale scored the only try of a first half played in heavy snow and man of the match John Cooney kicked four penalties for the victors.

England prop Kyle Sinckler got the try for Harlequins, who stay bottom of Pool One on one point.

The sides meet again on Friday in the return match in Belfast.

Ulster, heavily beaten at La Rochelle in their last European match, have moved up second in the pool, ahead of Wasps.

They need to beat Harlequins again to stay in the hunt for the quarter-finals and their job could be made easier if Quins opt to rest players before their important Premiership trip to Newcastle on 23 December.

There was heavy snowfall throughout the first half at Twickenham Stoop
There was heavy snowfall throughout the first half at Twickenham Stoop

Harlequins had been buoyed by a thrilling Premiership win over Saracens last week, and before Sunday's game director of rugby John Kingston was adamant they could still progress to the European quarter-finals.

To do that, they needed to win all four of their remaining pool matches and that looked a tall order as Ulster took the game to them in the early stages.

Scrum-half Cooney slotted over a sixth-minute penalty for an offside, but then missed a chance to double the visitors' lead.

Despite the difficult conditions, Ulster maintained an adventurous attacking policy and were rewarded with Stockdale's 25th-minute try.

Cooney made an impressive run and, when he was tackled, Sean Reidy picked up to feed Stockdale in the right-hand corner.

Ulster's eight-point interval advantage lasted until the 51st minute when Sinckler got over in the left corner after a period of sustained home pressure.

It looked anyone's game at that point, but Ulster displayed great resolve and three Cooney penalties put the game beyond Harlequins.

CHAMPIONS CUP POOL 1
TeamPlayedWonLostForAgainstBonus PtsPoints
La Rochelle33012473315
Ulster321535508
Wasps312797826
Harlequins303429211

Harlequins: Brown, Walker, Alofa, Roberts, Visser, Smith, Care, Marler, Elia, Sinckler, Merrick, Matthews, Bothma, Robshaw, Luamanu.

Replacements: Prior for Care (43), Boyce for Marler (70), Ward for Elia (71), Swainston for Sinckler (70).

Not used: Lamb, White, Stanley, R. Chisholm.

Ulster: Piutau, Gilroy, Bowe, McCloskey, Stockdale, Lealiifano, Cooney, Black, Herring, Herbst, O'Connor, Treadwell, Henderson, Reidy, Timoney.

Replacements: Ludik for Bowe (48), Warwick for Black (71), Kane for Herbst (64), Henry for Treadwell (52).

Not used: Andrew, Rea, P. Marshall, Nelson.

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France).

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