EUROPEAN CUP RUGBY: Second half try feast from Ulster blows Harlequins away

Charles Piutau celebrates scoring a try against Harlequins
Charles Piutau celebrates scoring a try against Harlequins
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ULSTER 52 HARLEQUINS 24

A second half try blast from Ulster saw them put a half-century of points on Harlequins to secure a try scoring bonus point win.

Having breathed life into their European Champions Cup hopes last week this five match point victory has fully ignited their Pool One chances of further progression with two rounds still remaining.

However, they did not get it all their own way, with a shaky second quarter performance and went in at the break leading 16-12 before cutting loose.

Ulster remain second in the group, now two points behind French side La Rochelle, who are at Wasps on Sunday.

It was an enterprising start from Ulster, eager to stamp an early hold on the game.

A thundering break by hooker Rob Herring in the opening minutes saw Ulster find themselves in a good attacking position. Under the cosh an offisde from Quins presented the opportunity for Ulster scrumhalf, John Cooney, to open the scoring with a penalty on four minutes.

Captain Iain Henderson then led the charge as the home side moved and linked well eventually forcing another penalty which Cooney goalred to double the lead.

Poor defence from Ulster allowed Quins outhalf Marcus Smith had got over for a try- which he failed to convert - to put them a point behind after 14 minutes

But Stuart McCloskey went over three minutes later after hacking through and Cooney converted from the touchline.

The second quarter was a poor offering from Ulster. Their lineout malfunctioned and the Aviva Premiership side carved them up in the midfield.

A great combined effort from Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey denied Charlie Walker going over for a try, but the Quins winger made no mistake when a second opportunity presented, waltzing through a soft defence to score near the posts, Smiyth converting to make it 13-12.

Ulster weathered the storm and a penalty from Cooney took them in at the break 16-12 ahead.

Whatever the issues had been Ulster resolved them in the second half .

Tries from Craig Gilroy and Charles Piutau, with a conversion and penalty from Cooney had Ulster into a 31-7 lead, but Quins came back with an unconverted try from Ross Chisholm.

Kyle Sinckler's body charge on Jacob Stockdale earned him a yellow card on the hour mark and a minute later Alan O'Connor went over, Cooney converting to secure the try scoring bonus point.

Stockdale who had provided for the last three try scorers was unable to keep up his scoring rate of a game in every start this season when he was forced off injured after 65 minutes.

Dale Ward grabbed a try bonus point when captain Dale Ward crossed on 67 minutes and Smyth converted to make it 38-24.

The end remained to Ulster however, still enough energy in the bodies for John Cooney and replacement Andrew Trimble both crossed, Cooney converted both for a personal tally of 27 points.