Ulster 56-3 Oyonnax: Irish province keep hopes of Champions Cup progression alive with eight-try mauling of Oyonnax
Ulster claim maximum points against an outclassed Oyonnax to keep hopes of progression alive
The Irish province scored four tries in each half, with eight different try-scorers
Rob Herring, Darren Cave, Rory Scholes and Sean Reidy scored tries to put the hosts 28-3 ahead at half-time.
Craig Gilroy, Robbie Diack, Ian Humphreys and Jared Payne added touchdowns after the interval.
Ulster kept their chances of Champions Cup progression alive with a 56-3 bonus-point victory against Oyonnax at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts scored eight tries, outclassing their opponents in every department, but are still relying on Leinster beating Wasps in the Pool 5 match.
Even without new Ireland Captain Rory Best, the Irish province ran riot in the first half with scores from Robert Herring, Darren Cave, Rory Scholes and Sean Reidy securing the bonus-point for the hosts in the opening 40.
The French visitors looked out of gas and continued to be punished after the restart with Craig Gilroy, Robbie Diack, Ian Humphreys and RUCK man of the match Jared Payne touching down further scores for the hosts.
The Irish province finished second in Pool One but must wait to discover if they are one of the best three runners-up.
Ulster began the game on top and opened the scoring through their captain Robert Herring after just a minute. The hooker picked up and dived over for the score.
Paddy Jackson converted to give the hosts a seven-point lead, but Rory Clegg responded for the French visitors with a penalty soon after.
The Irish province though moved further in front when Cave, on his return from a shoulder injury, latched onto a pop from Payne to score. Fly-half Jackson then made it two-from-two, 14-3.
Try number three came for Ulster though Scholes, who had only been on the pitch 20 seconds after coming on as a blood replacement for Andrew Trimble, before Jackson converted again, 21-3.
Ulster then secured the bonus-point before the break as Reidy dotted down before Jackson confidently added the extras.
Gilroy dived over for Ulster’s fifth try seven minutes after the restart as he cut the French visitors to ribbons down the right.
Jackson then made it five from five with the boot as he nails the touchline conversion, 35-3.
Ulster then got try number six with Diack, who initially looked to be stopped before the line, managing to force the ball to the line. Humphrey’s this time curled over the conversion, 42-3.
Four minutes later the hosts scored try number seven as Paul Marshall received the ball from the lineout before finding Humphreys, who raced through the middle to dot down underneath the posts before adding the extras himself, 49-3.
Payne then got the try his performance deserved with Roger Wilson charging through a gaping hole in the Oyonnax defence before passing to the fullback to score. Humphreys converted again to finish off the games scoring, 56-3.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ulster: Jared Payne
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Kyle McCall
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Callum Black, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Clive Ross, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Rory Scholes
Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Daniel Ikpefan, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Alaska Taufa, 11 Dug Codjo, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Julien Blanc, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Pierrick Gunther, 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Geoffrey Fabbri, 4 Leon Power, 3 Giorgi Vepkhvadze, 2 Thomas Bordes, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Laurent Delboulbès, 18 Horace Pungea , 19 Fabrice Metz, 20 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 21 Fabien Cibray, 22 Regis Lespinas, 23 Eamonn Sheridan
Date: Saturday, January 23
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Simone Boaretto (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)