Leinster coach matt O’CONNOR reacted to the news that Ulster had beaten Montpellier away with the wry reflection that it would make Leicester “cranky”.
The former Tigers coach may have undersold the value of Ulster’s win at Stade Yves-du-Manoir. Leicester secured a last-gasp bonus point against Treviso on Friday and would have expected Ulster, who beat them in their opening fixture, to fall short against in-form Montpellier.
From the moment Andrew Trimble dived over for an 11th minute try, Ulster controlled a game of high attrition and were deserved winners. Rory Best and Robbie Diack starred for the Ulster pack and Ruan Pienaar kicked 15 points in a 25 — 8 triumph.
Ulster winger Tommy Bowe told Sky Sports that ending Montpellier’s unbeaten home record in 2013 ranked as an amazing result. He commented, “There’s a lot of belief in this side and we know we can take on the best teams. All credit to the forwards today who did such a good job against a ferocious Montpellier pack. The boys stuck it up to them today and we were clinical.”
Treviso, away them home, await in December. Bowe is confident of a win a Ravenhill before bracing for a kitchen sink job from the Italians at Stadio di Mongio the following weekend. “This pool is well and truly not over but we’re happy where we are.”
Dan Parks slots over one of his eight successful kicks for Connacht. INPHO/James Crombie
Connacht boss Pat Lam, meanwhile, was pleased that his side could follow-up their narrow defeat against Saracens with a comprehensive victory in Italy. The westerners defeated Zebre 33 — 6 to reach five points in Pool 3.
Lam told Sky, “Everyone said well done for running Saracens close, but asked whether we could do it again. So there was a lot of pressure on us to come out here and win, and to do it so convincingly was satisfying.”
The New Zealander answered queries about delaying a try-scoring push until the final 10 minutes by declaring it was called a bonus point for a reason. “There’s no doubt that we went for it at certain stages, but credit to Zebre for holding us out,” he added.