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Ulster gains Euro rugby quarterfinal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — Ulster joined Munster in the quarterfinals of rugby’s European Cup thanks to a dramatic 23-21 triumph over Edinburgh Reivers in Edinburgh on Sunday.

A late intercept try by wing Sheldon Coulter, which was converted by Simon Mason, saw Ulster through to a home quarterfinal against powerful French club Toulouse.

Munster had already secured a place in the last eight, but the Irish provincial champions kept up their recent good form with a 35-21 victory over Padova in Italy and they now meet another French side, Colomiers, in the quarterfinals.

David Corkery, Brian Walsh, Eddie Halvey, Killian Keane and John Kelly scored tries for in-form Munster, who are unbeaten in their last six games.

There was disappointment, however, for both Leinster and Connacht, who failed to make it to the knockout stages. Injury hit Leinster blew their chance by losing 34-27 to Llanelli at Donnybrook, while Connacht’s hopes of progressing in the European Sheild were dashed by a 19-14 defeat by Racing Club de France in Galway.

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Meanwhile, Ireland begin a two match World Cup qualifying series without influential hooker Keith Wood. Because he has refused to sign a contract with the IRFU, Wood is ruled out of the games against Georgia and Romania, as well as the one-off test against South Africa in Dublin on Nov. 28.

Despite Wood’s absence, the Irish should win both matches against Georgia and Romania easily, so smoothing their passage to next year’s World Cup finals. If results go to expectation, then Ireland will end up in a group that includes Australia and the U.S.

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