Ulster suffer late heartbreak as Gloucester clinch it at the death
George Barton’s late try denies visitors the victory as they take home two points
Gloucester celebrate after George Barton dives over to score the match-winning try against Ulster in the Heineken Champions Cup match at Kingsholm Stadium. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Gloucester 38 Ulster 34
Missing talisman Marcel Coetzee and Irish lock Iain Henderson Ulster’s visit to the west country ended in heartbreak as they clawed their way back from 24-10 to score 24 unanswered points only to lose the match in the fifth minute of injury-time.
Leading 34-31 and with just injury-time remaining, Ulster with replacement Ethan McIlroy in the bin, just couldn’t hold out as replacement Gloucester centre George Barton made the most of a little space in the 85th minute to score his side’s fifth try, Lloyd Evans converting for a winning scoreline of 38-34.
That’s two narrow defeats in two weeks for Ulster, who now sit eighth on the table with no wins from two outings, just three bonus points and well out of contention for one of the top four places in Pool B.
Ulster took the lead for the first time in the 66th minute after trailing from very early, when winger Louis Rees-Zammit touched down. Ulster outhalf Billy Burns equalised minutes later before the first of three penalty tries in the game brought Gloucester to 17-7 with Rob Herring going into the bin. Alan O’Connor quickly followed for collapsing a maul and Ulster, even with two men down, actually narrowed the score to 17-10 at the break.
A Mark Atkinson try and Evans conversion then made it 24-10 for the home side before Ulster’s resurgence through Michael Lowry in the 52nd minute, a penalty try on 58 minutes and with Rees-Zammit binned, a John Cooney try and a couple of kicks from him and Ulster led 34-24.
With just 12 minutes remaining, Gloucester went on the offensive and when Ulster replacement McIlroy slapped the ball forward, he ended up in the bin with another penalty try awarded to Gloucester for to put them into a 34-31 lead on 75 minutes.
But it took 10 minutes to set up a quick feed to Barton at the death and with Ulster stretched a little bit with the man down, it was the 20-year-old’s score that ended the match.
SCORING SEQUENCE – 6 mins: L Rees-Zammit try, L Evans con 7-0; 11: B Burns try, J Cooney con 7-7; 23: L Evans pen 10-7; 26: Gloucester penalty try 17-10; 42: M Atkinson try, Evans con 24-10; 52: M Lowry try, Cooney con 24-17; 58: Ulster penalty try 24-24. 66: Cooney pen 24-27; 68: J Cooney try, con 24-34; 75: Gloucester penalty try 31-34; 85: G Barton try, Evans con 38-34.
GLOUCESTER: K Moyle; C Sharples, C Harris, M Atkinson, L Rees-Zammit; L Evans, C Chapman; V Rapava-Ruskin, J Singleton, C Knight; E Slater, M Alemanno; J Reid, L Ludlow (capt), R Ackermann.
Yellow card: L Rees-Zammit (57 mins).
Replacements: S Nagle-Taylor for Ackermann; J Ford-Robinson for Knight, A Craig for Alemanno (both 62 mins); T Venner for Chapman (64 mins); A Seville for Rapava-Ruskin (66 mins); H Trinder for Sharples, H Walker for Singleton (both 68 mins); G Barton for Harris (77 mins).
ULSTER: M Lowry; M Faddes, J Hume, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; B Burns (capt), J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore; A O’Connor, D O’Connor; S Reidy, J Murphy, N Timoney.
Replacements: J Andrew for Faddes (30-36 mins), T O’Toole for Moore, M Rea for Reidy (both 43 mins); E McIlroy for Lowry (73 mins); I Madigan for Burns (75 mins).
Yellow cards: R Herring (25 mins), A O’Connor (26 mins), E McIlroy (74 mins).
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France).