Planet Rugby

Six-try Ulster smash Aironi

30th March 2012 21:02

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Stephen Ferris of Ulster is stopped by Sinoti Sinoti and Carlo Del Fava of Aironi

Demolition job: Ulster drilled Aironi

Ulster took a step towards the Pro12 play-offs on Friday with a 45-7 bonus-point victory over Aironi at Ravenhill.

After a scrappy opening ten minutes, featuring a number of handling errors and tactical kicks, the visitors came close to opening the scoring as Samoan winger Sinoti Sinoti launched a swift counter attack down the left wing.

They were unable to finish the move off though and it wasn't long before the home side showed why they are play-off contenders by finishing off their first real chance.

Ruan Pienaar managed to deliver quick ball to fly-half Ian Humphreys, who drifted across the field before inviting Paddy Wallace to crash onto the ball at an angle and canter in under the posts.

The men from Belfast, realising the potential importance of a try bonus point, turned down a number of three point opportunities from very early on.

And after several early scrums their dominance at the set-piece was evident, so it was no surprise when a penalty try was awarded midway through the first half after repeated infringements by the Italians.

Stephen Ferris hobbled off with an ankle injury after half an hour and, in his absence, a huge gap immediately opened up in the Ulster line-out which allowed scrum-half Tito Tebaldi to coast through the middle of it and half the deficit to seven points.

And with five minutes of the first half remaining the Irishmen, perhaps humbled by the Aironi try, opted to take the three points on offer from a penalty to extend their lead to ten points.

They marched straight back down into the opposition 22 though and there was still time for Rory Best to rumble over for a third try from a line-out, after Giulio Toniolatti was sin-binned, to make it 24-7 at the break.

The home fans didn't have to wait long for the bonus point to be secured as centre Darren Cave crossed just five minutes into the second half.

As Ulster made a number of substitutions the momentum did slow somewhat but, after a period of pressure midway through the half, the unlikely figure of prop Tom Court raced onto a wide pass from Wallace to score in the corner.

South African number eight Pedrie Wannenburg added even more gloss with a late try from the base of the scrum.

It completed an impressive victory which will give Ulster a welcome confidence boost as they go in search of a playoff place. Aironi, meanwhile, remain rooted to the foot of the table.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Wallace, Penalty try, Best, Cave, Court, Wannenburg
Cons: Pienaar 4, Humphreys 2
Pen: Pienaar

For Aironi:
Try: Tebaldi
Con: Olivier

Yellow card: Toniolatti (Aironi - 39th min)

Ulster: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Adam D'Arcy.

Aironi: 15 Giulio Toniolatti, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Mauro Bergamasco, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Joshua Furno; 5 Carlo Del Fava (capt), 4 George Biagi, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Antonio Denti, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Gilberto Pavan.

Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Johan Carvill (Ireland) (Ireland)
Television match official: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)
Assessor: Brian Stirling (Ireland)

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