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Published: 14:11 | 13/1/18

Ulster "proud" of La Rochelle display

Ulster assistant coach Dwayne Peel was "proud" after the northern province kept their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup alive with a 20-13 victory over La Rochelle at the Kingspan Stadium.

Tries by Rory Best, Jacob Stockdale and Nick Timoney saw Les Kiss' side overturn an early deficit caused by Alexi Bales's try, which he converted, while the French side's scrum-half also kicked two penalties.

The result moves Ulster above the Top 14 outfit into top spot of Pool 1 and they know that victory away to Wasps on the final day will guarantee their safe passage to the knockout stages, a position which pleases Peel and the whole management team.

"It was a good effort from us," he told BBC Radio Ulster. "You look at La Rochelle's performances in Europe and what they've done in the Top 14 and they're a real top side and there was a lot of character shown today in difficult conditions as well.

"They were in control at six points to nil [ahead] but we probably didn't help ourselves in the first quarter of an hour. We spilled too much ball and we had a couple of opportunities and turned the ball over cheaply which gave them position in our territory but we stuck at it and got the two tries before half-time. 

"The second-half, I thought, was an even contest and we played well and managed to stick in there.

"At least it is in our own hands now going into next week so we've got a massive week ahead for us.

"It was nail-biting. We pummelled their line for the last 10 minutes and didn't manage to get that bonus point, which would have been lovely but we'll take that win and it's a performance we can be proud of."

On Saturday, Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs take on Top 14 side Montpellier at Sandy Park [BT Sport 2, kick-off 3.15pm], and Pro 14 side Ospreys meet Premiership side Saracens at the Liberty Stadium later the same evening [BT Sport 3, kick-off 7.45pm].

On Sunday, 14 January, Top 14 side Toulon take on Benetton at the Stade Felix Mayol [BT Sport 2, kick-off 2pm], while Top 14 side Castres host Premiership side Leicester Tigers at the Stade Pierre Fabre [BT Sport 2, kick-off 6.30pm]. 

Image: Inpho/Billy Strickland

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