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Ulster bag bonus against Treviso

27th September 2013 21:05

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Michael Allen Ulster pro12 2013

Two tries: Michael Allen

Ulster scored five tries as they claimed a reassuring 32-13 bonus-point win over Treviso in Friday's Pro12 clash at Ravenhill.

Tries from Luke Marshall, Rory Best, and Tommy Bowe, as well as a brace from Michael Allen, saw a resurgent Ulster secure a welcome victory, enabling them to climb the Pro12 table.

Treviso responded valiantly with a try from Robert Barbieri, and the boots of Mat Berquist and Alberto Di Bernardo, but were unable to close the gap. Ulster, who led throughout the game, were the better side, however.

The home team got off to a decent start; winning an early scrum thanks to pressure from their forwards. And this early intensity seemed to have earned its reward when a powerful Bowe surge unleashed Allen in the corner. But the touch judge adjudicated that the young wing had a foot in touch.

The Irish province dominated the opening five minutes, driving powerfully at the Treviso defence. Big runners like Iain Henderson and Chris Henry tested the fringe defence of the Italian franchise.

Paddy Jackson thus earned the Irishmen a deserved lead on ten minutes, when he slotted a well-struck penalty kick to make it 3-0.

But the Belfast team didn't capitalise on their ascendancy, and fly-half Berquist equalised proceedings on 18 minutes, to make it 3-3.

Ulster regained their advantage four minutes letter when Jared Payne made a powerful break, before deftly off-loading to Luke Marshall to score under the posts. Jackson converted to make it 10-3.

Treviso hooker Enrico Ceccato, meanwhile, was having a pronounced case of jitters at line-out time. All this underlined the Irish team's supremacy, and Allen finally earned his reward on 28 minutes when he touched sown following some sweeping handling in the back-line. Jackson missed the conversion, however, to make it 15-3.

But the Italian visitors gradually regained their foothold in the game, with tighthead Alberto De Marchi exerting some pressure on Tom Court at the scrum. By half time, the hosts were well worth their lead, however.

It was Treviso who made the more productive start to the second period, which witnessed their pack camped in the Ulster 22. Accordingly replacement kicker Di Bernardo reduced the arrears to 9 points on 43 minutes.

It was last year's finalists who struck next. A speculative cross-field kick by Jackson saw the Treviso cover panic under pressure from Bowe, and the Lions' wing touched down following the resultant fumble.

And the evening got even better for the Irish province on 63 minutes when skipper Rory Best rounded off incisive breaks from Marshall and Stevenson. Jackson missed the extras.

Treviso responded gallantly and launched a series of incursions into the Ulster half.

But despite a wealth of possession, they seemed to lack the cutting edge to navigate a way across the Ulster whitewash. But their dogged persistence eventually reaped dividends when replacement Barbieri crashed over the line on 70 minutes.

Di Bernardo successfully landed his conversion. The score was now a much more respectable 25-13.

The gap between the sides attested more to the resoluteness of the home defence than any particular deficiency in Treviso's attacking armour.

Allen concluded a much-improved Ulster performance by completing his brace on 79 minutes. Jackson capped an excellent individual performance to convert the score.

Treviso will be disappointed at being unable to follow up last week's superb victory over Munster.

For Ulster, this win helps regain vital momentum ahead of the challenges of the next few weeks.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: L. Marshall, Allen 2, Bowe, Best
Cons: Jackson 2
Pen: Jackson
Yellow card: Stevenson

For Treviso:
Try: Barbieri
Con: di Bernardo
Pens: Berquist, di Bernardo

Ulster: 15 Craig Gilroy, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 D Tuohy, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 R Best (c), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Nick Williams, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 James McKinney, 23 Darren Cave.

Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Christian Loamanu, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Alberto De Marchi, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Robert Barbieri, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.

Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), Brian Macneice (Ireland)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

By Rory McGimpsey

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