Ulster secure bonus point win

Date published: January 30 2016

Ulster ran in four second-half tries to secure a bonus point win in the PRO12 away in Italy against Treviso.

The first 40 minutes was a rather drab affair, with two Ian Humphreys penalties giving the Irishmen a slender half-time lead after a pretty appalling half of rugby.

The Belfast side were a different proposition in the second half, though, as tries from Sean Reidy, Rory Scholes, Darren Cave, and Stuart Olding secured the five points.

Returning centre Olding will be particularly delighted with his performance, scoring a try and a conversion on his first start after a long layoff with serious injury.

In truth, it’s easy to see why the Italian club has gone so long without a win, but for Ulster this was about securing maximum points and the Irishmen didn’t disappoint.

After a lacklustre start, Humphreys gave Ulster a 3-0 lead after the hosts had been caught offside. There was little in the way of clear cut opportunities in the opening twenty minutes, a half break by Paul Marshall the only spark from an uninspiring first quarter.

The Italian hosts got into the game as the half wore on and their massive pack gave them a steady platform, particularly in the scrum.

This pressure levelled the contest on 33 minutes with a penalty for Hayward after Ulster loosehead Callum Black was pinged by Ian Davies for not rolling away. It was no less than Treviso deserved as reward for their impressive energy and work-rate.

But Ulster steadied the ship and regained field position in the Treviso half thanks to some gritty, aggressive defence.

Right on the brink of half-time, Humphreys regained the Irish club’s lead with a penalty in front of the posts to make it 6-3. It wasn’t a vintage half of rugby and as the teams trudged off for the interval, Ulster would have been disappointed with the quality of their performance.

The second half started with Ulster on the back foot as the big Treviso pack established early momentum. Treviso particularly impressed in the scrum, where Simone Ferrari exerted pressure on Black. Thus, it was the hosts who scored next as a 48th-minute Hayward penalty restored parity at 6-6.

Ulster responded in the best possible way, though. The Irish club was awarded several penalties but each time spurned the potential three points. Treviso repelled the initial drive, albeit illegally, and Ian Davies was perhaps thinking about a penalty try. There was no need, however, as the third drive saw openside Reidy crash over to score. Humphreys converted to give Ulster a 13-6 lead.

The visitors now had the momentum and centre Cave utilised front foot ball to get over for a 58 minute try, Humphreys again converting.

When Scholes got over for his intercept try on 62 minutes, the beleaguered Italian franchise looked dead and buried. Olding converted to make it 27-6.

And the bonus point was secured when the rejuvenated Olding scored in the right hand corner on 72 minutes. The conversion was missed for Ulster, but had little relevance.

Replacement Braam Steyn got over for a consolation at the death for Treviso, converted by Hayward, but the damage was long since done.

The scorers:

For Treviso: 
Try: Steyn
Con: Hayward
Pens: Hayward 2

For Ulster: 
Tries: Reidy, Cave, Scholes, Olding
Cons: Humphreys 2, Olding
Pen: Humphreys

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Enrico Bacchin, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (c), 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Alberto Lucchese, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Andrea De Marchi, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Filo Palmer, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Alberto De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traorè, 18 Filippo Filippetto, 19 Jeff Montauriol, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 James Ambrosini, 22 Simone Ragusi, 23 Andrea Pratichetti

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Rory Scholes, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Clive Ross, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Lorcan Dow, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Jacob Stockdale

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy), Simone Boaretto (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)

by Rory McGimpsey