Rugby Union

Ulster blow hot in cold to win away to Harlequins

Ulster Rugby's 'man of the match' John Cooney is tackled by Harlequins Mike Brown during the European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool One victory for the visitors at Twickenham Stoop, London

Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston accepted that his side's Champions Cup campaign was over after they crashed to a 17-5 defeat to Ulster at the Stoop.

Ulster were deserved winners with Jacob Stockdale scoring their try. John Cooney added four penalties to pick up the man-of-the-match award.

Outside-half Christian Lealifano said: "John [Cooney] really stepped up and controlled the game but our forwards were outstanding and they made sure we played in the right areas of the pitch.

"It was very cold and we had to change the way we had to play but we dug deep as it's a tough place to come and win and we will need to back it up next week at home."

It was the first time that Quins had lost three consecutive European games since the 2009-10 season and left them rooted to the bottom of Pool 1 with just a single point, 14 behind runaway leaders La Rochelle.

It was a miserable afternoon for Quins as their injury-ravaged squad lost Chris Robshaw and Danny Care to failed head assessments and could only manage a single try from Kyle Sinckler.

Kingston said: "We are out of it, we are not going to qualify and it has been disappointing.

"We haven't been in the competition for three years so you are not going to spring into it and win it but you must learn your lessons from being in it.

"We made a fist of it against La Rochelle but we were poor against Wasps and not great today in difficult conditions.

"I've no issues with the game going ahead as I played in loads of games like that 30 years ago, there was a bit of a colour clash between the jerseys as it seemed all red but that may have been accentuated by the white of the snow.

"We didn't react quickly enough to what was needed in the conditions. We were too intricate and needed basic stuff in the first half. However, I thought we were back in with 25 minutes to go but they nailed their chances and we didn't."

Next up for Quins is a return trip to Ulster next Friday evening.

Kingston said: "Realistically we will be without Danny and Chris, having failed their assessments today and it was two big blows for us as we needed our key players to stand up.

"Selection won't be difficult for Friday as I've just about 23 fit players who are registered for the competition.

"However, elsewhere we still have everything to play for as we are fourth in the Premiership and have won our first two Anglo-Welsh fixtures."

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