Payne shines in rain but Ulster rue lost bonus
Ulster 19 Treviso 7
Ulster splashed and spluttered to a facile victory over a brave Treviso after a bit of rugby broke out in Belfast last night. But they missed the bonus point, which could be crucial come the end of April.
With Kingspan Stadium pitch covered in water, and constant rain still sweeping straight down at kick-off, errors were going to be a factor.
However, tries by Jared Payne, Sean Reidy and Charles Piutau saw Ulster claim a victory of some sorts.
Filo Paulo grabbed a deserved a late consolation try for Treviso who can be proud of their efforts in conditions that hardly matched the Amalfi Coast.
The aerial route was the key tactic in the conditions, and was liberally used by both teams.
The home side took their time getting into their rhythm as initially the visitors were dictating play, particularly at the ruck and tackle area where they continually turned Ulster over.
However, once Ulster got their set-piece working, Treviso looked vulnerable with Payne trotting through a gap from a neat pass by Stuart Olding to score midway through the half.
However, that was a rare bit of action and it was the only score of a dreadful first half as the visitors continued to frustrate Ulster.
Despite flanker Francesco Minto spending time in the bin early in at the second half, Ulster still struggled to put something credible together until the 53rd minute when Reidy crashed over close-in.
Piutau, who was hardly involved for the first 55 minutes, got in on the act when he dived on an Olding grubber for try number three.
The bonus-point try never looked like coming for Ulster and it could come back to bite them.
Ulster - C Gilroy (Stockdale 61), A Trimble, J Payne, S Olding, C Piutau, P Nelson (L Marshall 55), R Pienaar (P Marshall 76): C Black (Warwick 55), R Herring (capt) (Andrew 72), W Herbst (Lutton 55), K Treadwell, F van der Merwe, R Wilson (Ross 50), S Reidy (Browne 67), M Coetzee.
Treviso - L Sperandio; A Esposito, T Iannone, M Tagicakibau, A Buondonno (Pratichetti., 56); I McKinley, T Tebaldi (Bronzini 60); F Zani (Acosta 62) L Bigi (Santamaria, 57), T Pasquali (Zanusso, 57); T Paulo, D Budd (capt), M Lazzaroni, F Minto (Gerosa, 73), R Barbieri (Zanini, 60).
Ref - D Jones (WRU)