Anscombe calls for caution
Ulster coach desperate for history not to repeat itself following Ravenhill rout
Ulster 48 Treviso 0
Darren Cave may have suffered a bout of foot-in-mouth last week when airing his grievances regarding international selection, but he put his money where his mouth is at Ravenhill when he set up three of Ulster's seven tries in their Pool 5 demolition of Benetton Treviso.
Along with two-try Luke Marshall, Cave provided a real cutting edge in midfield as Ulster sauntered to a facile victory and kept their 100pc record intact.
The home side were 22-0 to the good at half-time, with Marshall's first touchdown adding to tries by Paddy Jackson and John Afoa.
Ulster had stuttered for a while in the second half, before a sublime offload out of the tackle by Cave set up Dan Tuohy for the all-important bonus point.
Andrew Trimble and Sean Doyle added further tries, while Jackson, who was adroitly pulling the strings, also banged over a penalty and five conversions.
But while Ulster coach Mark Anscombe was pleased with this rather hollow Heineken Cup victory, he was a little concerned that Ulster failed to initially impose themselves after the half-time break.
"We lost our focus at the start of the second half. When we came out of the tunnel for the restart, it must have taken us about 15 minutes to get back into our stride again," said Anscombe.
"So, that is something we have to address before next week. But I'm always happy with a win. I was pleased the way we went about our work on Saturday night and to score seven tries, nearly score 50 points and concede none, you've got be happy.
"At the end of the day, they still have a team with a lot of internationals and good footballers. They certainly didn't come to Belfast and lie down, so you have to give credit to the boys in the manner in which they took the kick-offs and the way we got out of our half going through the phases, was pleasing.
"We had to play guys who had not a lot of Heineken Cup rugby and they stepped up and played well. Players like hooker Rob Herring.
"It was his first start and he was outstanding, as was Sean Doyle and those players who came off the bench and really did themselves proud," added Anscombe, who nevertheless warned of the dangers of being over-confident going into next week's game.
Last season, Ulster throttled Northampton 25-6 at Franklin's Gardens then ended up losing 10-9 in the reverse fixture at Ravenhill the following week.
"We now know from experience that there are no two days the same. While the fact is that we enjoyed ourselves on Saturday, there is a completely different challenge next week.
"Treviso have a very proud home record – just look at their performances there this season. They've had some good wins and you can be assured that they will not back-up the performance last Saturday with another similar one. We will not kid ourselves that it will just be a walk over.
"We remember back to this time last season when we were pretty happy with what we had done to Northampton, but we just didn't back it up.
"We let ourselves down and it took away an opportunity for a home draw in the quarter-finals. So, we must learn from that mistake.
"I think our heads are in the right place as to what we need to do. They will definitely bring a different challenge next week. It will be Franco Smith's last game as coach.
"He's pulling up stumps and Treviso will know what he has given as a player and coach. So, I'm sure the guys will want to see him off in the right manner.
Ulster – J Payne (Allen 61); A Trimble (McIlwaine 72), D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy, P Jackson, R Pienaar (P Marshall 70); T Court (Black 63), R Herring (Annett, 69), J Afoa (Fitzpatrick 63), J Muller (capt) (McCombe 61), D Tuohy, R Diack, S Doyle, R Wilson (McComish 67).
Treviso – L McLean; L Nitoglia (Loamanu 70), M Campagnaro, A Sgarbi, A Esposito; M Berquist (Ambrosini 67), E Gori (Botes, 21); A de Marchi (Rizzo 55), L Ghiraldini (Sbaraglini 70), L Cittadini (Fernandez-Rouyet 69) A Pavanello, capt, C van Zyl, A Zanni (Derbyshire 67), D Budd, R Barberi (Filippucci 71).
REF – L Pearce (RFU)