Monday 19 February 2018

Marshall the ringmaster as rampant Ulster put Italians to the sword

Ulster 32 Treviso 13

Tommy Bowe, Ulster
Tommy Bowe, Ulster

A well-oiled Ulster side were just too slick for Benetton Treviso as they clocked up a bonus-try Pro12 victory at Ravenhill

For 70 minutes they demolished the Italian side, with the energetic Michael Allen picking up a brace, and returning Lions Tommy Bowe and Rory Best scoring a try apiece.

Man of the match Luke Marshall also got on the scoresheet as he showed just what a lethal partnership he and Jared Payne could be when linked together in midfield.

Early on, Treviso just could not handle the pace of Ulster's slick handling game and no-nonsense rucking. And Ulster appear to be happy with the new scrummaging set-up as at every opportunity they preferred the set-piece at which they had an obvious advantage.

Ulster almost surged ahead in the second minute when snappy use of decoy runners and a final flip pass by Bowe had Allen sprinting into the corner, but a replay showed that he had just clipped the touchline before grounding the ball.

Treviso found great difficulty in getting out off the red zone in the opening 10 minutes, with the TMO denying the home side another possible try after a forward drive.

At this stage all Ulster had to show for that pressure was a Jackson penalty. A blip in Ulster's complete domination in the 16th minute saw Matt Berquist rattle over a 40-metre penalty. But five minutes later came that lovely piece of rugby by the two Ulster centres when Payne off-loaded beautifully to Marshall, who shrugged off a tackle to go over under the posts for his first try of the season.

Ulster's next try in the 28th minute was a much simpler creature when Allen became the extra man after Tom Court, Best, Marshall and Payne delivered the goods out wide on the left.

The home side allowed Treviso first strike on the resumption when replacement out-half Alberto Di Bernardo flipped over a penalty in front of the posts and the Italians were on the front foot before Bowe struck in the 52nd minute for try No 3.

A speculative cross-field kick by Jackson was fumbled by Ludovico Nitoglia over the line and Bowe had the simplest tasks of touching down in the right-hand corner. Skipper Best grabbed the bonus try in the 63rd minute after great work by Darren Cave, Marshall and Dan Tuohy.

A yellow card for replacement lock Lewis Stevenson on 65 minutes gave Treviso a chance to add to their total and they finally managed to try through Robert Barbieri.

Allen, though, did the business at the finish when he was again on the end of a series of passes to score in the left-hand corner.

Ulster – C Gilroy (J McKinney 71); T Bowe, J Payne (D Cave 60), L Marshall, M Allen; P Jackson, P Marshall (M Heaney 65); T Court (C Black 75), R Best (R Herring 71), R Lutton, I Henderson (L Stevenson 47), D Tuohy, R Diack, C Henry, R Wilson (N Williams 60).

Benetton Treviso – L McLean (F Semenzato 47); L Nitoglia, M Campagnaro, A Sgarbi, C Loamanu (A Di Bernardo 32); M Berquist, E Gori; M Rizzo, E Ceccato, A De Marchi (I Fernandez-Rouyet 37); A Pavanello, M Fuser; S Favaro, A Zanni, M Vosawai (R Barbieri 31).

Ref – I Davies (WRU)

Irish Independent

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