Jacob Stockdale completed a brilliant season in style as his intercept try sealed Ulster’s victory in their Champions Cup play-off clash with the Ospreys.
The Ireland winger broke the NatWest 6 Nations record for tries in a single Championship with seven as he helped Joe Schmidt’s side to Grand Slam glory.
During that campaign he showed his penchant for an intercept and he did the same again in this clash with the Ospreys, picking off a pass from James Hook to race over for Ulster’s fourth try in a 35-17 success that guarantees them a spot in next year’s Champions Cup.
Earlier on fellow Ireland winger Craig Gilroy had scored two tries of his own, while second row Kieran Treadwell also crossed the whitewash.
By contrast, the Ospreys could manage just three tries, from Wales skipper Alun-Wyn Jones, winger Jeff Hassler and Wales fly-half Dan Biggar.
Although it came in defeat, that try two minutes from time was a momentous one for Biggar, who became the all-time leading points scorer in the Guinness PRO14, overtaking former Scotland fly-half Dan Parks.
It came in his final appearance for the Ospreys before he moves to Northampton Saints in the Premiership next season. AWAY SUCCESS IN FRANCE The barrages in the Top 14 both went the way of the away sides this weekend as Lyon and Castres sprung surprises on Toulon and Toulouse respectively.
On Friday night it was Lyon, for whom the retiring Frederic Michalak was playing what could be his last-ever game, who earned their place in the semi-finals at the Stade Felix Mayol.
After 100 minutes of action, the two teams could not be separated at 19-19, with Lyon’s two tries enough to see them through to one for Toulon.
Dylan Cretin, a France Under-20 international last year, scored the second of those as he sprinted over from 30 meters out.
On Saturday it was Castres who beat their local rivals Toulouse 23-11 to book their place in the semi-finals.
Winger Armand Batlle scored a try in each half for the visitors, with Rory Kockott chipping in with a couple of penalties.
And despite losing hooker Jody Jenneker to a red card 20 minutes from time, they held on for the win.
As a result, it turned out to be Toulouse captain Florian Fritz’s final match, with the former France centre bowing out at the age of 34.
Fritz won 34 caps for his country and was part of the France team that won the Championship in both 2006 and 2007, scoring the crucial try in the former as Les Bleus saw off Wales to take the title on the final day.
Lyon and Castres will now take on Montpellier and Racing 92 in the semi-finals, with those matches both to be played in Lyon.