Timoney caps first Ulster start with brace on miserable night for Jackman's dragons
Ulster 52 Dragons 25
Man-of-the-match Nick Timoney marked his first Ulster start with a powerhouse double as his side destroyed Bernard Jackman's Dragons outfit with an eight-try annihilation at the Kingspan Stadium last night.
The big Ballymena No 8 scored a try in each half, and showed some of that blistering Ireland Sevens pace for his 48th-minute effort as Ulster now top Conference B following Leinster's shock defeat to the Cheetahs.
But really this was not a contest, particularly in the first half. But you have to credit Ulster who did all the right things in the right areas.
They took their chances, scored five times in that first half through Stuart McCloskey, Peter Nelson, Timoney and Wiehahn Herbst plus a penalty try. The Dragons could only muster a couple penalties by fly-half Dorian Jones, who also converted a try by replacement hooker Rhys Buckley as Ulster led 33-13 at the break.
The second half didn't improve for the Dragons as mistake followed mistake, and missed tackle followed missed tackle with tries from Jacob Stockdale, Timoney again and Shanahan adding to the their embarrassment.
It took Ulster only two minutes to get on the scoreboard with Charles Piutau setting things up and then slick hands and passing saw skipper Chris Henry put McCloskey in.
Ulster, who were not shy in putting in some thumping tackles, particular Rodney Ah You, who was yellow-carded at the end for a late tackle. Ulster then showed great patience in the build-up to their second try in the 12th minute as a tired Dragons defence allowed Nelson to dance through at the posts.
But a bonus point was not long in following, with Timoney crashing over thanks initially to the dancing feet and power of Piutau. Herbst was on as a replacement for Rodney Ah You for only five minutes when he scored try number five before departing again in the 30th minute.
The second half was more or less a procession as Ulster picked off easy tries from the Dragons woeful, error-ridden performance. Yes, top of the league, for now, but there will be tougher challenges ahead for Ulster following this little run-out.
ULSTER - C Piutau (Lyttle, 50); T Bowe, D Cave (Herron, 52), S McCloskey, J Stockdale; P Nelson, P Marshall (Shanahan, 55); K McCall (Warwick, , R Herring, R Ah You (Herbst, 24-29); R Diack, A O'Connor (Henderson, 58); C Ross (Rea, 53), C Henry (capt), N Timoney.
DRAGONS - C Meyer; A Hughes (Talbot-Davis, 46), T Palamo, P Howard, G Gasson; D Jones, O Leonard (Blacker, 49); T Davies (Price, 49), G Ellis, L Fairbrother; M Screech, R Landman (Davies, 67); M Williams, O Griffiths (capt), R Blake (Greggains, 25).
REF - D Jones (WRU)