Ulster recorded a surprisingly comfortable but crucial 33-17 bonus-point win over Munster in the Pro12 at Ravenhill on Friday.
Ulster recorded a crucial 33-17 bonus-point win over Munster at Ravenhill on Friday.
Ulster eased to a surprisingly comfortable victory over their Irish rivals to remain in play-off contention.
Tries by Stefan Terblanche, John Afoa, Ian Humphreys and Ruan Pienaar aided by two penalties and two conversions from Humphreys saw Ulster claim the bonus-point win.
Munster hit back through touchdowns from Luke O'Dea and Johne Murphy, but they fell to a disappointing defeat, although they remain in third position for now.
After reaching the play-offs last season, Ulster have had a disappointing league campaign so far, finding themselves nine points off the top-four before this game.
Munster, by contrast, have been typically stout and consistent, competing well domestically and in Europe.
But it was the hosts who opened the account through Humphreys.
However, the visitors responded after 14 minutes when wing O'Dea scampered over. Ian Keatley converted before the hosts' fly-half reduced the gap to a single point and then added the extras to Terblanche's touchdown.
Keatley kicked a penalty but it was Ulster who were looking the more dangerous and their pressure eventually told when Afoa powered across the whitewash.
Humphreys was once again on target with the conversion as they led 20-10 at the break.
The hosts continued to dominate after half-time with their stand-off again being their main creative force as he deservedly touched down five minutes into the second period.
Soon after, Ulster confirmed the bonus-point with a try from scrum-half Pienaar. Humphreys added another penalty while Murphy's converted try provided scant consolation for Munster.
Tries: Terblanche, Afoa, Humphreys, Pienaar
Cons: Humphreys 2
Pens: Humphreys 2, Pienaar
Tries: O'Dea, Murphy
Cons: Keatley 2
Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Stefan Terblanche, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Chris Henry, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 John Afoa, 2 Andi Kyriacou, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Ali Birch, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Chris Farrell, 23 Peter Nelson.
Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Luke O'Dea, 13 Tom Gleeson, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Johne Murphy, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Mick O'Driscoll (capt), 4 Ian Nagle, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Denis Fogarty, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 John Ryan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Tomas O'Leary, 22 Scott Deasy, 23 Will Chambers.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Paul Haycock (Ireland)
Television match official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)