Bordeaux late show sinks Ulster
MATCH REPORT: Bordeaux-Begles left it late to breakdown a brave Ulster defence and claim a 28-13 European Rugby Champions Cup triumph.
An Andrew Trimble try and eight points from the boot of Paddy Jackson gave Ulster a commanding 13-9 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. But the hosts staged a late show to steal the spoils and get their Pool Five campaign of to a flying start.
Sébastien Taofifenua barged over at the corner before a searing break from Metuisela Talebulamaijaina earned a penalty try. And Blair Connor broke free to put the gloss on the hard-fought victory.
Ian Madigan capitalised on some early dominance to kick Bordeaux into a 3-0 lead after just two minutes. But the early scare sparked Les Kiss's side into life. Ulster battled their way downfield, and made the most of their first foray into enemy territory.
The Ulster pack drove the hosts back at a scrum before Stuart Olding charged into midfield. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar switched the play to blindside and found Trimble running a devestating angle to cut-through and score. Jackson converted to give the Irish province a 7-3 lead.
Ulster had two chances to put themselves even further on the front foot but twice knocked on close to the try-ine. They had to settle for a Jackson penalty late in the first-half to make it 10-3 at the break.
It was Madigan who struck first in the second period with a penalty to rein Ulster's lead back to within four points. Lionel Beauxis replaced the Ireland flyhalf and his first act was to land a penalty to cut the gap to a single point. But Jackson was on-hand to reply two minutes later with a long-range strike.
Ulster looked to be on their way to a famous Champions Cup win with some heroic defence, but their resolve was finally broken with five minutes remaining. Giant forward Taofifenua rumbled over the Ulster defence and squeezed the ball down at the corner to give the hosts the lead.
Talebulamaijaina then broke clear and charged downfield from the kick-off. He offloaded to Serin, who was tackled early by Sean Reidy, preventing a try. JP Doyle sin-binned Reidy and awarded a penalty try, before Connor streaked home from a turnover.
Tries: Taofifenua, Penalty Try, Connor
Con: Beauxis 2
Pens: Madigan 2, Beauxis
Pens: Jackson 2
Yellow card: Sean Reidy (Ulster)
Bordeaux-Bégles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 12 Romain Lonca, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Loann Goujon, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Jandré Marais (captain), 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Clément Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Sébastien Taofifenua, 18 Marc Clerc, 19 Tom Palmer, 20 Marco Tauleigne, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Lionel Beauxis, 23 Metuisela Talebula
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble (captain), 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Clive Ross, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Rory Best, 1 Andy Warwick.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Jacob Stockdale, 23 Rob Lyttle.
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: John Meredith (England), Peter Allan (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)