Ulster fight back for home quarter-final

Leicester Tigers 19-22 Ulster Rugby
Published Saturday, 18 January 2014
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Ruan Pienaar has been hailed a hero after Ulster booked a home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup thanks to a brilliant 22-19 comeback victory at Leicester on Saturday evening.

Ulster fight back for home quarter-final
Ruan Pienaar kicks the ball forward during the Heineken Cup game at Leicester. (© Getty)

The scrum-half scored all Ulster's points in an epic battle to ensure his side finished top of Pool Five after winning all their six matches.

Pienaar scored a try, kicked the conversion and landed five penalties, two of which he secured from inside his own half, in the final pool match at Welford Road.

Ulster captain Johann Muller said of Pienaar's performance: "It seems like it's happening every week, when he scores all the points.

"I came here with him yesterday to do kicking practice and he did not miss one all day. He was outstanding and kicked them from 60, 62 metres. From a captain's point of view it gives you a lot of confidence."

The result means the Tigers will have to travel in the quarter-finals after their first home defeat in the competition since 2006-07.

They scored a try through winger Niall Morris and fly-half Toby Flood converted and also slotted four penalties.

The Tigers made a strong start leading 6-0 after 11 minutes but Ulster edged back and the sides were levelled at 9-9 at half-time.

A huge amount of credit to him and it doesn't just happen. He puts a huge amount of work in, he puts hours and hours into his kicking and it's wonderful when it pays off.

Johann Muller talking about Ruan Pienaar

Flood restored Leicester's lead seven minutes after the interval when he landed a 32-metre penalty after Ulster had again offended at a scrum.

And 12-9 became 19-9 two minutes later when Morris scored the first try of the match, brilliantly converted from the right touchline by Flood.

It came after great work by hooker Tom Youngs and winger Vereniki Goneva in the loose. Flood chipped down the right and Morris fended off a tackle to score in the corner, the try being awarded by the TV official.

But Ulster kept up the pressure and won a penalty which Pienaar kicked in the 57th minute to make it 19-12.

And they were level a minute later after another high ball. Although Leicester dealt with this one, Flood's clearance was charged down by Pienaar who followed up for an easy try before converting from the right touchline.

Pienaar then kicked another monster penalty, from a metre inside his own half, in the 69th minute to put Ulster ahead for the first time.

The Belfast side withstood a Tigers onslaught before finishing strongly to clinch a quarter-final tie at Ravenhill in April.

© UTV News
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9 Comments
Cavanman in Co Cavan wrote (331 days ago):
Well done to Ulster.
Jim in Swords wrote (331 days ago):
Well done to Ulster, Munster and Leinster great to see three Irish teams through.
Mike in Donegal wrote (331 days ago):
Well done Ulster. Great game.
Belfastwhite in Andersonstown wrote (332 days ago):
Great result for Ulster best away performance of the season IMHO. They did not get one 50/50 decision yet played Leicester off the park. The defence was terrific and Pienaar was outstanding. Stand up for the Ulstermen!
Ryan in An Dun wrote (332 days ago):
Well done ulster.
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