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Last Updated: Friday, 12 December, 2003, 22:05 GMT
Ulster comeback stuns Stade
Ulster 22-20 Stade Francais

HEINEKEN CUP POOL 1
Action from Stade Francais v Ulster
Ulster 22
Try: Wallace
Con: Humphreys
Pens: Humphreys 5
Stade Francais 20
Try: Bergamasco
Pens: Dominguez 4
Drop: Liebenberg

Ulster handed Stade Francais their third Heineken Cup defeat on Belfast soil in five years after a final-quarter comeback kept their qualification hopes alive.

A try from replacement full-back Paddy Wallace with 16 minutes left and 17 points from Ireland stand-off David Humphreys guided them to victory.

The Celtic League leaders trailed 11-9 at half-time and 17-12 after an hour.

But after an opening defeat to the Gwent Dragons, Ulster avoided a costly second loss with Humphreys' fifth penalty and conversion of Wallace's try.

In heavy drizzle, Humphreys and Diego Dominguez exchanged early penalties before the Irish veteran punished a mistake from full-back Ignacio Corletto to give Ulster a 6-3 lead.

But a lazy Dominguez strike from 28 metres drifted over in the 18th minute to level the scores.

Everyone is devastated. We gave them back the impetus
Stade coach Nick Mallett
Unbeaten in their previous seven Heineken Cup games at Ravenhill, Ulster put that record at risk when they gifted a try to Stade wing Mirco Bergamasco.

Full-back Bryn Cunningham turned over ball 10 metres from his own line and the visitors capitalised on a three-to-one overlap to put the Italian international over in the corner.

Dominguez missed the conversion, and but for ill discipline, Stade would have been further ahead.

But solid defence from Ulster, including an injury-time line-out steal from lock Rowan Frost near their line, saw them just two points down at the break after a third Humphreys penalty.

The stand-off cancelled out an opportunist Brian Liebenburg drop goal four minutes into the second half with another penalty in the 50th minute.

They did exactly what they had to do and ground out a terrific win
Ulster coach Alan Solomons
Ulster missed a scoring chance when Shane Stewart's poor offload to Tyrone Howe caused the wing to spill the ball forward inside the Stade 22.

But a fifth success from Humphreys' right boot, following another Dominguez penalty, reduced the deficit to 15-17.

Ulster seized the upper hand when Wallace powered through the Stade cover from just outside the 22 to score with 16 minutes left.

Humphreys converted, and although Dominguez replied with his fourth penalty after 76 minutes, Ulster hung on for a vital victory.


Ulster: B Cunningham; J Topping, S Stewart, P Steinmetz, T Howe; D Humphreys, N Doak; R Kempson, M Sexton, S Best, R Frost, G Longwell, A Ward (capt), N Best, R Wilson.
Replacements: P Shields, R Moore, M Mustchin, T McWhirter, K Campbell, A Larkin, P Wallace.

Stade Francais: I Corletto; T Lombard, J Hernandez, B Liebenburg, Mirco Bergamasco; D Dominguez, A Pichot; S Marconnet, B August, P de Villiers, D Auradou, capt, A Marchois, C Moni, P Rabadan, Mauro Bergamasco.
Replacements: M Blin, P Lemoine, J Bado, R Jechoux, R Poulain, D Skrela, I Vass

Referee: Nigel Williams (Wales).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Ulster's Andy Ward
"It was great to be involved. The crowd was electric"


Alan Solomons
"Our best performance in my three years in charge"


Paddy Wallace
"It was a very physical game"



SEE ALSO
Ulster v Stade Francais photos
13 Dec 03  |  Photo Galleries
Stade tame Tigers
06 Dec 03  |  European Club
Dragons beat Ulster
07 Dec 03  |  European Club


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