Ferris injury takes gloss off Ulster stroll
Ulster 45 Aironi 7
Ulster have a major worry ahead of next week's European shoot-out with Munster, with flanker Stephen Ferris hobbling off during their easy bonus-point victory at Ravenhill last night.
Ferris rolled his ankle and left the ground with it badly swollen, making him a major doubt for the Heineken Cup trip to Thomond Park next Sunday.
Meanwhile, the victory over Aironi keeps Ulster very much alive in the Pro12 play-off hunt as their six-try romp takes them into fourth place on points difference.
Ulster crossed the whitewash at regular intervals through Paddy Wallace, Rory Best, Darren Cave, Tom Court, Pedrie Wannenburg and a penalty try, with Ruan Pienaar kicking 11 points and the excellent Ian Humphreys adding a couple of conversions.
The opener came on 13 minutes as Best snaffled an Aironi line-out and Humphreys delayed a pass for Wallace to run in under the posts.
The second was a penalty try, awarded when Ulster dismantled Aironi's scrum three times five metres from their own line.
Then Ferris struggled to get up after an innocuous-looking tackle -- two minutes later he limped off.
Soon afterwards, Tito Tebaldi pulled back a try for Aironi, but normal service was resumed with a Pienaar penalty. Then, with Gulio Toniolatti in the sin bin for hands in the ruck, Best touched down after Ulster drove a line-out.
The bonus point was secured five minutes into the second half. Best stole a line-out and Wallace sent Cave over. A typical quick tap penalty by replacement scrum-half Paul Marshall set up the fifth try just past the hour mark with Court rumbling over.
Back-row Wannenburg completed the rout late on.
Ulster -- S Terblanche; A Trimble, P Wallace (A D'Arcy 64), D Cave, C Gilroy (I Whitten 60); I Humphreys, R Pienaar (Marshall, 62); T Court (A Macklin 72), R Best (N Brady 54), J Afoa (P McAllister 54), J Muller, capt, L Stevenson (D Tuohy 54); S Ferris (W Faloon 32), C Henry, P Wannenburg.
Aironi -- G Toniolatti; S Sinoti, R Quartaroli (R Pavan 46), M Pratichetti, G Venditti; N Olivier, Tito Tebaldi (L Orquera 60); Alberto de Marchi (A de Marchi, 59), F Ongaro (A Denti, 59), F Staibano (S Perugini 56), G Biagi, C del Fava (capt, Q Geldenhuys 52); J Furno, N Cattina, M Bergamasco (F Ferrarini 49).
REF -- N Patterson (Scotland).