Monday 17 December 2018

Herring and Reidy to the rescue for Dan's tourists

Benetton Rugby 10 Ulster 15

Alessandro Zanni of Benetton Treviso competes for the ball in a line out with Greg Jones of Ulster. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Alessandro Zanni of Benetton Treviso competes for the ball in a line out with Greg Jones of Ulster. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Ronan O'Brien

Ulster left Treviso lifted by a powerful second-half performance that gave their Guinness PRO14 campaign a real boost thanks to tries from Sean Reidy and Rob Herring.

Both sides were well below full strength for this clash, as many of their top stars were in Chicago on international duty, but Benetton should have added to their three wins to date after dominating the visitors from the start.

Sean Reidy of Ulster goes over to score his side's first try. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Sean Reidy of Ulster goes over to score his side's first try. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Ulster, though, will be thrilled with the four points and according to backs coach Dwayne Peel it could be a key moment in their campaign.

"It was a gutsy performance. We know in the context of the season it's a big game for us and we spoke in the week about this being one of the biggest games of the season for us," said Peel.

"We soaked up a lot of pressure, we went 7-3 down at half-time and we probably didn't keep hold of the ball well enough in the first-half.

"But I thought our guts and character were huge and we're delighted with the win, to be honest."

Billy Burns of Ulster kicks a conversion. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Billy Burns of Ulster kicks a conversion. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Deserved

Benetton took a well deserved lead after just three minutes when their rolling maul overpowered Ulster's defence and hooker Hame Faiva crossed. Tommaso Allan's conversion made it 7-0.

Ulster's try-line somehow managed to survive for the remainder of the game as Ratuva Tavuyara came very close before James Hume denied Tommaso Benvenuti with another last-gasp tackle.

Billy Burns's penalty on the half-hour mark got Ulster off the mark despite the Italians' continued dominance, and their 7-3 half-time lead was a fortunate deficit for Dan McFarland's side.

However, after the restart Ulster steadied the ship and had taken the lead by the 44th minute when Reidy barged over, after the impressive Stuart McCloskey was stopped just short a phase earlier.

Stuart McCloskey of Ulster attempts to score a try which was subsequently disallowed. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Stuart McCloskey of Ulster attempts to score a try which was subsequently disallowed. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

Ulster continued to dominate possession and McCloskey had a try ruled out for a knock-on in the act of scoring, but after Michele Lamaro was sin-binned, Herring stretched Ulster's lead with their second try. It meant Allan's penalty in the closing stages only secured a losing bonus point for Benetton.

Benetton Rugby - J Hayward (A Rizzi 33); R Tavuyara (A Esposito 60), I Brex, A Sgarbi, T Benvenuti; T Allan, D Duvenage (E Gori 71); D Appiah (A de Marchi 71), H Faiva (T Baravalle 49), S Ferrari (M Riccioni 49); I Herbst (N Cannone 73), A Zanni; D Budd (c) (G Pettinelli 60), M Lamaro, M Barbini.

Ulster - P Nelson; R Baloucoune (A Kernohan 33), J Hume, S McCloskey, H Speight; B Burns, D Shanahan; E O'Sullivan (A Warwick 64), R Herring (J Andrew 64), M Moore (T O'Toole 64), A O'Connor (captain), K Treadwell, M Coetzee (C Ross 74), S Reidy (G Jones 64), N Timoney.

Ref - M Adamson (SRU).

Alan O'Connor of Ulster is tackled by Simone Ferrari, left, and Alessandro Zanni of Benetton. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile
Alan O'Connor of Ulster is tackled by Simone Ferrari, left, and Alessandro Zanni of Benetton. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile

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