Ulster bounce back with bonus win
January 7, 2011
Ian Humphreys kicked 12 points in Ulster's win
© Getty Images
Ulster ended their two-game losing run with a valuable 32-13 bonus-point win over Treviso to keep them 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 fullback 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.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery