Ulster needed just one half to secure a Magners League bonus point against Treviso on Friday, winning 32-13 at Ravenhill.
Ulster needed just one half to secure a bonus point against Treviso on Friday, scoring all their points in the first period to win 32-13 at Ravenhill.
The result sees Ulster end their two-game losing run to stay in touch with the top four in the Magners League.
Tries from Ruan Pienaar, Nevin Spence, Adam D'Arcy and Rory Best in an impressive first 34 minutes gave Ulster a commanding position in dreadful conditions.
But coach Brian McLaughlin will hardly be pleased that his charges failed to score a single point in a second-half display which saw them largely on the back foot and conceding a converted try to the Italians.
Returning fly-half Ian Humphreys contributed 12 points with the boot and Stephen Ferris also came through well as a second-half replacement for a win which keeps Ulster sixth in the table.
After an early exchange of penalties, Ulster opted to take a quick throw from a long Treviso drop out with Humphreys' throw launching Andrew Trimble on a powerful run up the right wing.
The Ireland international linked with Willie Faloon and then quick hands from Best allowed Pienaar to scamper over the line for a great counter-attacking score. Humphreys added the conversion.
Willem De Waal then slotted Treviso's second penalty but, from there, Ulster continued to push on. With a little more than 20 minutes gone, Humphreys kicked a penalty from the halfway line via the upright and this seemed to spur the home side on to greater deeds with ball in hand.
Ulster's second try duly arrived after they had moved the ball right on the narrow side, Humphreys changing the angle of attack with an inside pass to D'Arcy that cut Treviso wide open.
The full-back threw an ambitious pass to Spence who failed to collect but kicked the ball at Kristopher Burton. The Treviso full-back missed it and the undoubtedly surprised Spence pounced to score near the posts.
Again Humphreys kicked the extras and did so again four minutes before the half-hour when Ulster managed their third score when Trimble's burst put Pienaar in space and, though the Springbok checked instead of taking Andrew Vilk on the outside, Ulster recycled and D'Arcy dived over at the posts.
At 27-6, the bonus point looked inevitable and it came six minutes before half-time when Best scored from a lineout drive in the left corner.
With Pienaar taken off at half-time, more as precaution after receiving a knock, and Ferris introduced early in the second half, Ulster nevertheless lost some of their momentum – understandable perhaps on the back of their 32-6 half time lead.
Treviso managed to rumble Gonzalo Pedro over the line on 48 minutes and De Waal's conversion made it 32-13 to the home side.
Ulster then allowed an element of sloppiness to creep into their game, exemplified by a poor piece of play from Simon Danielli which allowed Treviso to lay siege to the home side's line.
The loss of Trimble to an apparent knock on the thigh also did not help the home side's cause and with Treviso bringing on an entirely fresh front row, the Italians managed to get on top.
Only some great defensive work from Chris Henry saved two scores – the latter when Fabio Semenzato was actually over the line late in the game – but Henry and Dan Tuohy managed to prevent the touchdown.
Tries:Pienaar, Spence, D'Arcy, R Best
Cons: Humphreys 3
Pens: de Waal 2
Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Nevin Spence, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Chris Henry, 5 Tim Barker, 4 Johann Muller, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Rory Best (capt), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Bryan Young, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Stephen Ferris, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 David McIlwaine.
Treviso: 15 Kristopher Burton, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Andrew Vilk, 10 Willem De Waal, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Marco Filippucci, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Gonzalo PadrÃ², 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Augusto Allori, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Valerio BernabÃ², 20 Paul Derbyshire, 21 Francesco Minto, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 Gonzalo Garcia.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU)
Assistant Referees: J Carvill, D Connolly (both IRFU)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (IRFU)