Ulster recovered from being 23 / 0 down at halftime to get a vital victory over Oyonnax in Pool 1 of the European Champions Cup.
Key men Ruan Pienaar, Paddy Jackson and Nick Williams all came off the bench for the 2nd half to help the Irish side scrape a remarkable 1-point win.
Ulster were in big trouble when Jeremie Maurouard and Uwa Tawalo scored tries. But backs Rory Scholes and Craig Gilroy, and young prop Kyle McCall, saved them from a damaging defeat.
Ulster, who revived their European prospects with back-to-back wins over Toulouse, are 2nd in Pool 1 with 13 points – 6 behind Saracens.
Those December victories over Toulouse would have meant little had they lost to the Pool outsiders at the Stade Charles-Mathon.
Louis Ludik’s pair of tries helped Ulster to resist a 2nd-half fightback from Cardiff Blues and strengthen their position in the Guinness PRO12 Top 4.
Fullback Ludik scored a try in either half to supplement finishes from Craig Gilroy and Paul Marshall as the hosts picked up what could prove to be a very valuable try bonus point.
Tom Isaacs and Alex Cuthbert crossed for the Blues as they showed real resilience after the break, but the 18 / 0 halftime deficit ultimately proved too much.
Glasgow Warriors’ draw at Leinster means Neil Doak’s side stay second, but they will be pleased to have forged a bit of a buffer between themselves and the chasing pack
Bottom of the table France travel to Dublin to face fourth placed Ireland in the RBS Six Nations Championship on Saturday. This is part of the fifth round of fixtures of this year’s Championship. The match is scheduled to kick off at 19.00 South African Time.
Jonathan Sexton has been ruled out of Ireland’s Six Nations clash against France on Saturday while Paddy Jackson is also a fitness concern.