Clermont’s French winger Alivereti Raka  scores a try against Ulster during the European Champions Cup clash at Stade Marcel  Michelin stadium in Clermont-Ferrand. Photograph: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP/ Getty

Knowing their quarter-final destiny remained in their own hands was of little comfort to Ulster head coach Dan McFarland in the Stade Marcel Michelin(...)

Clermont’s Isaia Toeava   is tackled by Robert Baloucoune. Photo: Getty Images

Clermont 29 Ulster 13 Ulster surrendered the lead of Pool 3 to Clermont after the hosts fought back in the second-half at the Stade Marcel Michelin t(...)

Billy Burns: will be looking to impress  the Ireland coaching team when Ulster face Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel Michelin. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Clermont Auvergne v Ulster, Saturday, Stade Marcel Michelin, 2.0pm local time/1.0pm Irish time - Live on BT Sport Ulster’s resilience, the ability to(...)

Leinster’s Scott Fardy played two of their interpro derbies over the festive period. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ireland’s National Player Management Programme is much admired outside the country, or certainly appears to be given how often it gets an airing from (...)

Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey in action against Munster in the Guinness Pro14  at Kingspan Stadium in  Belfast last Friday. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The three rounds of festive interpros can be a mixed bag, and certainly didn’t offer much in the way of cheer for Connacht or, ultimately, Munster. Ha(...)

Toulouse have such a stranglehold on Pool 5 that realistically, they too are merely jostling for ranking positions. Photograph: Pascal Guyot/AFP

Whisper it quietly, but have the opening four rounds of the Heineken Champions Cup been a little, well, if not dull then prosaic? The make-up of the q(...)

 A mass brawl breaks out between the teams during the Heineken Champions Cup  match between Saracens and Munster  at Allianz Park in Barnet, England. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

The fortunes of the four proud provinces could hardly be more contrasting. Leinster’s progress to the knockout stages has already been serenely comp(...)

Munster’s Andrew Conway celebrates his try against Toulon with team-mates in last year’s quarter-final clash at Thomond Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

As they know too well, Munster have not won the Heineken Champions Cup since 2008. They and their supporters may have become a little frustrated with (...)

Marcell Coetzee: his  performance against Bath exemplified his quality and importance to Ulster.   Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Heineken Champions Cup Pool 3: Ulster v Clermont Auvergne  Kick-off: 7.45pm, Friday. Venue: Kingspan Stadium. On TV: Live on BT Sport (...)

Clermont’s Fijian flanker Peceli Yato  scores a try against Harlequins last week during the European Champions Cup clash at  Stade Marcel Michelin.   Photograph: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP/Getty Images

Clermont Auvergne have been forthright in expressing the desire to win a Heineken Champions Cup when the majority of French clubs – Toulon and Toulous(...)

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