Marcell Coetzee put in a Man of the Match performance to help Ulster claim an 18-13 win over Clermont in the Champions Cup in Belfast on Friday.
Ulster, who beat Bath in England last weekend, continued the winning start to their European campaign with a solid outing against Clermont.
The Irish side took an early lead through a penalty from scrumhalf John Cooney, who scored a total of 13 points in a fantastic individual outing.
However, it was the Springbok loose forward who put in another headline-grabbing performance on defence, completing all of his 10 tackle attempts and winning a turnover penalty in the first half. Coetzee was also busy throughout the game with ball in hand, making 22 metres from 13 carries.
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Ulster’s dominance continued throughout the first half and a lineout on 18 minutes provided the platform for a powerful driving maul, reaching back-rower Jordi Murphy who was awarded the opening try after the TMO was consulted.
Clermont got a minor foothold in the match 15 minutes later when Greig Laidlaw swept over a three-pointer from a scrum penalty, but Cooney responded immediately, kicking a penalty of his own to put Ulster 10 points up at the interval.
Laidlaw slotted a second penalty in the second half to make it a seven-point deficit. A bit of individual genius from Cooney followed minutes later in what turned out to be the match-winning try. He picked a hole down the blind side from an attacking scrum, chipped over the final defender and collected his own kick before scoring in emphatic fashion.
Clermont were awarded a penalty try late in the match, however they couldn’t force another opportunity as Ulster successfully navigated the final nine minutes for a crucial victory.
In Friday’s Challenge Cup matches, flyhalf Jaco van der Walt kicked three penalties and a conversion as Edinburgh were forced to settle with a 16-16 draw with Bordeaux. Toulon scored a try 10 minutes after the final hooter to beat 14-man Scarlets 17-16, Pau got off the mark with a 61-10 win over Calvisano, the Dragons beat Enisei 49-22 and the Bristol Bears hammered Brive 36-0.
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