Champions Cup as it happened: Leinster too strong for Ulster at the Aviva

Leo Cullen’s men run out comfortable winners in scrappy game in rainy conditions


FULL-TIME: Leinster 30 Ulster 15

Leinster showed their class against Ulster in a game of difficult conditions. Ulster battled well for long periods before ultimately running out of steam. Irish forwards Jack Conan, James Ryan and Ryan Baird particularly stood out. Not a classic but job done for Leo Cullen’s men, who are through to play Leicester in the next round.

Jack Conan: “We were pretty disappointed how we started, a lot of moving parts from the last few weeks. A lot to improve for next week, it will be a different challenge against Leicester. Great to be here again in blue, it’s a great platform for the next few weeks.”

That’s all from me, Gerry Thornley’s report to come.


76 mins: Ulster running out of steam after a few yellow cards and a lot of defending, a few errors creeping in. This game looks over, as Jack Conan is named player of the match.

Leinster 30 Ulster 15


In the other Champions Cup game, defending champions La Rochelle are losing to Gloucester at home, 26-22 after 72 minutes. Would be a surprise and change the outlook of the tournament.


70 mins: Yellow card for Ulster. Sheridan for a high tackle on Ross Byrne. Byrne kicks for touch, Molony catches. But Scott Penny is turned over by Ulster.

Leinster 30 Ulster 15


67 mins: Ulster with a period of possession but can’t advance much further than halfway. Hume’s kick is blocked but they keep the ball and eventually clear the ball out for a Leinster lineout inside their own half.

Leinster 30 Ulster 15


64 mins: TRY FOR LEINSTER! Lineout successful for Leinster. Gibson-Park finds Conan, who is stopped just before the line. Byrne then feeds Jimmy O’Brien but fails to ground the ball as Ulster hold it up. They go again and push forward and this time Porter puts it down! Byrne converts.

Leinster 30 Ulster 15


61 mins: Poor restart by Byrne, goes out of play at the end line. Scrum to Ulster in the middle of the pitch. But a big scrum by Leinster and Ulster concede penalty for collapsing scrum.

Leinster 23 Ulster 15


59 mins: TRY FOR ULSTER! Straight back response. Ulster win penalty and kick to corner. Herring takes long and accurate lineout, strong maul overwhelms Leinster and Herring scores at the back of the maul. Cooney with a superb conversion.

Leinster 23 Ulster 15


56 mins: TRY FOR LEINSTER! Leinster maul after the lineout gradually gets towards the line. Another penalty advantage as the are stopped just short of the line. Henshaw’s pass doesn’t reach Gibson-Park but he smartly takes the loose ball, avoids the tackle, finds a gap, accelerates and under the posts! Byrne converts.

Leinster 23 Ulster 8


54 mins: Yellow card for Ulster! Ulster lose the lineout, Leinster push on and pile on the pressure, Conan and Ryan carrying strongly. James Hume tries to steal the ball but illegally and is given a yellow card.

Leinster 16 Ulster 8


51 mins: Cooney on for Doak as the game gets a bit scrappy in the wet conditions. His first moment after the scrum though sees his kick blocked by Ryan and out of play.

Leinster 16 Ulster 8


47 mins: Burns kicks into the corner after Ulster won a penalty. But a poor lineout by Herring and Ryan steals it. Cleared to midfield.

Leinster 16 Ulster 8


44 mins: Some early play by Leinster, double-digit phases as they stay patient from the restart. But Porter knocks it on the middle of the pitch, scrum to Ulster. Henshaw’s jaw being checked by the medical team.

Leinster 16 Ulster 8


HALF-TIME: Leinster 16 Ulster 8

Ulster have competed well with Leinster before Leinster turned the screws in the last 10 minutes of the half, but only had three points to show for their dominance in that period of the game. Ulster will be satisfied to be still well in the game in difficult conditions at the Aviva. The tries again:


40 mins: Gibson-Park with a nice kick into the corner again, Ulster under pressure but they win their lineout and then kick the ball out of play. Half-time.

Leinster 16 Ulster 8


38 mins: Leinster score penalty. Leinster win the lineout and head for the line, less than a metre out under the posts. Ulster hand on for a few phases. Almost Baird again, Gibson-Park tries the long one but it’s caught by Ulster. But again it was advantage, O’Toole the guilty party again. Leinster decide to take the kick after all that, Byrne puts it over.

Leinster 16 Ulster 8


34 mins: Try for Leinster disallowed. Leinster pile on the pressure, win another penalty and kicked into the corner. Maul towards the line is strong. Sheehan breaks from it and gets to 5 metres. Another penalty advantage. Ross Byrne with a nice delayed pass and Henshaw stopped a metre short. Ulster penalised once more. Leinster elect for tap penalty. Jack Conan pushed through and it appeared he had got it down, but TMO check said no. Back for offside and another lineout.

Leinster 13 Ulster 8


31 mins: Byrne with another long kick from a penalty but doesn’t connect with it well at all, to the pulled to the left of the posts.

Leinster 13 Ulster 8


28 mins: TRY FOR ULSTER! Great try by Ulster. Stockdale with a fine chip and chase, plays it back to Billy Burns who hits a brilliant crossfield pass to James Hume in space to easily convert. Doak misses the conversion.

Leinster 13 Ulster 8


27 mins: Leinster score penalty. Super kick by Ross Byrne from distance after Ulster were penalised for a collapsing scrum.

Leinster 13 Ulster 3


24 mins: Great tackle at full tilt by Ryan Baird when Michael Lowry went for a run. He’s had a fine match so far as he turns over the ball and it’s a Leinster lineout.

Leinster 10 Ulster 3


20 mins: TRY FOR LEINSTER! Leinster win a penalty from a collapsing scrum, Byrne kicks it well, into the corner for an attacking lineout. Best chance of the match so far. Another Leinster penalty, referee plays advantage. Leinster push through and Ryan Baird finds a gap and over the line! TMO had to check as it slipped out of his hand immediately afterwards but he safely got it down. Byrne converts.

Leinster 10 Ulster 3


17 mins: Great catch from Larmour on the high ball but Leinster struggling to break through Ulster’s defence so far. Byrne with a few hopeful kicks that don’t lead anywhere.

Leinster 3 Ulster 3


12 mins: Leinster win a penalty from the restart. They decide to shoot themselves and Ulster are only ahead for a minute as Byrne scores from 20 metres middle of the pitch.

Leinster 3 Ulster 3


11 mins: Ross Byrne is offside and Ulster win the penalty. Doak elects for the posts and Ulster get off the mark as Doak slots it over.

Leinster 0 Ulster 3


9 mins: Some strong tackling by Ulster, competing well. They win a penalty after a Larmour push. The ball bobbles in front of Hugo Keenan and he drops it! Surprising but maybe the weather conditions. Ulster have an attacking scrum.

Leinster 0 Ulster 0


5 mins: Lowry kicks the ball out of play for a Leinster lineout inside the 22 but it’s offside and Ulster have a lineout in the middle of the pitch.

Leinster 0 Ulster 0


2 mins: Early attacking by Leinster, starting the game in good pace. They won the restart, Jimmy O’Brien tried a grubber kick but hits off Doak and then knocked on. Scrum for Ulster.

Leinster 0 Ulster 0


It’s a wet old miserable day in Dublin today. Ulster will hope the conditions will favour an upset.


Kieran Treadwell and Ulster are eager to put their best foot forward against Leinster today as the Ireland second rowwon’t lack for incentive when he lines up against high-flying at the Aviva.

“I don’t know if it would be an upset; we always back ourselves. We’ve definitely got the team and performance in us to do it. I’m confident going into the weekend. I’m the sort of person that will stay quite calm and do all my analytic work at the start of the week and try to bring that emotional side into it towards the end.”


Once a fringe player, Leinster and Ireland’s scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park sets the tone for the province. He is looking forward to taking on Ulster two weeks after the Six Nations Grand Slam triumph.

“Nothing else matters now. We’ve got to this point, but you’ve got to park the rest of it. It’s all about knock-out footie. If you lose, you’re gone. So, you’ve got to be on it.”

Gerry Thornley spoke with him here:


Earlier today, the Sharks powered past Munster in Durban to reach Champions Cup quarter-finals. The Irish province were blown away by a four-try burst in the 18 minutes after half-time, reports John O’Sullivan.

“Forget the scoreline, it’s the manner of the defeat that will hurt Munster most when heads stop spinning and they get a chance to reflect on their exit from the Champions Cup. The shortcomings in performance, in terms of breakdown, discipline and handling mistakes and a facility for conceding tries in batches proved an insurmountable hurdle.”

Read the report of Munster’s exit here:

Yesterday, Leicester beat Edinburgh 16-6, so will play the winners of Leinster or Ulster in the next round.


Here are the teams for today’s game:

Leinster: Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Jimmy O’Brien, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, James Ryan (capt), Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan. Replacements: John McKee, Cian Healy, Michael Ala’alatoa, Jason Jenkins, Scott Penny, Luke McGrath, Harry Byrne, Ciarán Frawley.

Ulster: Michael Lowry, Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak; Rory Sutherland, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor (Captain), Kieran Treadwell, Dave McCann, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen. Replacements: Tom Stewart, Eric O’Sullivan, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Harry Sheridan, Marcus Rea, John Cooney, Stewart Moore, Ben Moxham.

And the referee is Luke Pearce (RFU).


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Champions Cup round of 16 match between Leinster and Ulster at the Aviva Stadium. Johnny Sexton might be out but the Leinster team is full of Irish internationals from the recent Six Nations and Grand Slam victory last month, with Leo Cullen’s men big favourites to progress to the next round. Ulster have a few familiar faces too for this Irish provincial clash. Kick off is at 5.30pm. @DavidGorman20