Ulster 48 Benetton Treviso 0
It’s hard to argue with a seven-try victory, the necessary bonus point, and blank space in the deficit column.
Certainly, the large vociferous crowd on a chilly Saturday evening at Ravenhill were happy with this result.
But while Ulster coach Mark Anscombe was pleased with this Heineken Cup landslide, he also voiced some concerns with the all-important return trip to Treviso next week.
Ulster had the game won by half-time when they went in 22-0 ahead thanks to tries by Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and John Afoa.
But they endured an indifferent period just after the restart before the excellent Dan Tuohy skipped over for the bonus-point try in the 57th minute.
With the energetic Marshall adding a second try and the hard-working Sean Doyle dotting down for his first Ulster try and Andrew Trimble finishing off the demolition, Ulster kept their noses in front of Pool 5. Jackson, who again directed operations with aplomb, also contributed five conversions and a penalty while Darren Cave, after a difficult week, put his money where his mouth is and was provider for three of the tries.
But Anscombe expressed concern at Ulster’s sluggish start to the third quarter.
“We lost our focus at the start of the second half. When we came out of the tunnel for the restart it must have taken us about 15 minutes to get back into our stride. So that is something we have to address before next week.
“But I’m always happy with a win. I was pleased the way we went about our work and to score seven tries, nearly score 50 points and concede none, you’ve got be happy. At the end of the day they still have a team who have a lot of internationals and good footballers. They didn’t come to Belfast and lie down, so you have to give credit to the boys in the manner in which they took the kick-offs and the way we got out of our half going through the phases was pleasing.
“We had to play guys who hadn’t huge Heineken Cup
experience and they stepped up and played well. It was Rob Herring’s first start and he was outstanding, as was Sean Doyle, and those players who came off the bench and did themselves proud,” said Anscombe, who nevertheless warned of the dangers of being over-confident going into next week’s return game.
Last season, Ulster throttled Northampton 25-6 at Franklin’s Gardens then ended up losing 10-9 in the reverse fixture at Ravenhill the following week.
“There are no two days the same. While we enjoyed ourselves on Saturday, there is a different challenge next week. Treviso have a very proud home record. Just look at their performances there this season. They’ve had some good wins and you can be assured that they will not back-up the performance last Saturday with another similar one. We will not kid ourselves that it will be a walk-over.
“We remember back to this time last season when we were pretty happy with what we had done to Northampton, but we just didn’t back it up at home. We let ourselves down and it took away an opportunity for a home draw in the quarter- finals. So we must learn from that mistake. I think we have our head in the right place as what we need to do.
“They will definitely bring a different challenge next week. It will be Franco Smith’s last game as coach. He’s pulling up stumps and Treviso will know what he has given as a player and coach. So I’m sure the guys will want to see him off in the right manner. So our victory on Saturday will count for nothing when it comes to next week.”
Scorers for Ulster: Tries: Jackson, Marshall 2, Afoa, Tuohy, Doyle, Trimble, Pen: Jackson; Cons: Jackson 5.
ULSTER: J Payne (Allen, 61); A Trimble (McIlwaine, 72), D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy, P Jackson, R Pienaar (P Marshall, 70); T Court (Black, 63), R Herring (Annett, 69), J Afoa (Fitzpatrick, 63), J Muller (capt) (McCombe, 61), D Tuohy, R Diack, S Doyle, R Wilson (McComish, 67).
BENETTON TREVISO: L McLean; L Nitoglia (Loamanu, 70), M Campagnaro, A Sgarbi, A Esposito; M Berquist (Ambrosini, 67), E Gori (Botes, 21); A de Marchi (Rizzo, 55), L Ghiraldini (Sbaraglini, 70), L Cittadini (Fernandez-Rouyet, 69) A Pavanello, capt, C van Zyl, A Zanni (Derbyshire, 67), D Budd, R Barberi (Filippucci, 71).
Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU).
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