Thursday 22 March 2018

Ulster bounce back with bonus-point victory over Zebre

Paul Marshall scored the fourth Ulster try
Paul Marshall scored the fourth Ulster try

Ulster bounced back from two consecutive defeats to get their Guinness Pro12 play-off ambitions back on track with a 32-0 bonus-point victory over Zebre at the Kingspan Stadium.

The home side scored four tries with Nick Williams crossing twice in the first half before Peter Browne and replacement Paul Marshall went over after the break to keep them in fourth place.

Paddy Jackson added 12 points with the boot from two penalties and three conversions, while Ulster had another three tries disallowed.

Jackson opened Ulster's account after four minutes with a long-range penalty and doubled the lead three minutes later after Andrea de Marchi was pinged for a high tackle on Stuart Olding.

Ulster claimed their first try in the 10th minute after Jackson had put a penalty into the corner and the pack mauled their way to the line with Williams spinning off to touch down.

Jackson added the extras before Rory Scholes had a try ruled out by the TMO just before the half hour.

Williams then bludgeoned over for his second try after Olding was held up over the line and Jackson's conversion made it 20-0 to Les Kiss' side.

After a pretty scrappy opening to the second period, Ulster had another try ruled out after Luke Marshall's break from deep ultimately saw Williams get over only for the TMO to adjudge that Rob Herring had knocked-on.

Then, finally, just after the hour, Ulster managed to get some position in Zebre's half and after first Scholes and then Williams were held up short, Browne dived over from close range.

Jackson missed the conversion - his only miss of the night - but the home side were now 25-0 up and now hunting down the bonus point.

But Zebre weren't for lying down and again they managed to keep play in Ulster's half and only a last-ditch tackle from Jacob Stockdale prevented Giulio Toniolatti from scoring.

Then Olding, Jackson and replacement Darren Cave interchanged passes to allow fellow sub Marshall to get the bonus-point try at the posts with Jackson converting.

Press Association

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