Anscombe wants to 'reward' Ulster fans with home quarter-final
Ulster last night became the first side to qualify for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a 23-6 victory over Glasgow – and coach Mark Anscombe then challenged his men to secure a home tie.
Last year’s runners-up defied miserable conditions to beat Glasgow with tries from Nick Williams, Jared Payne and Darren Cave plus eight points from Ruan Pienaar.
Ulster travel to Castres next weekend knowing they have already achieved their first goal of the season by reaching the knock-out stages of the tournament.
“It’s credit to the guys that they’ve achieved this and that’s one thing that we can put down that we’ve qualified after the fifth round (of matches) for the quarters,” Anscombe said.
“We set out as a goal this year to make a Heineken quarter-final.
“But we’re certainly not resting on it and we’re going to Castres next week with a job to do and reward our fans with a home quarter-final.
“I think if we don’t do that we’ll have let the supporters down a little bit.”
While Ulster sealed top spot in Pool Four, Northampton kept alive their hopes of qualifying from the same group as one of the best runners-up.
The Saints, who had looked down and out after losing at home to Ulster, battled to an 18-12 win against Castres with three penalties apiece from Stephen Myler and Ryan Lamb.
Next weekend, Northampton they will go to Glasgow in search of a bonus-point win and hope it is enough to secure qualification.
“It was a good all-round performance. To close out a game as close as that was quite professional,” said captain Dylan Hartley
“Recently we haven’t closed out those games.
“Going into next week, we have to get five points to keep hopes alive. We are doing alright away from home. The spirit is good in the camp.
“All we can do is worry about winning and hopefully the tries will come with that.”
Struggling Sale went down 27-6 at home by Montpellier while, in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Gloucester beat Bordeaux-Begles in a 31-26 thriller.