RaboDirect Pro12: Ulster power to emphatic victory over Scarlets in top of table clash
Last Updated: January 4, 2013 10:23pm
Ruan Pienaar: Booted 16 points for Ulster on 50th appearance
A second-half blitz from Ulster saw the Irish province extend their lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table to 11 points with an emphatic 47-15 victory over Scarlets at Ravenhill.
The match was evenly-poised at 9-3 to Ulster at half-time, however tries from forward duo Robbie Diack and Nick Williams put the home side on their way to a sixth successive home league victory of the season.
Wing Andrew Trimble then crossed for the try of the night before a penalty try sealed the bonus point and Neil McComb completed the rout. Scrum-half Ruan Pienaar added 16 points with the boot.
A miserable night for Scarlets, who have now lost five of their last six matches in all competitions, was compounded by the loss of Wales wing George North to injury.
Keen to bounce back from last weekend's 24-10 reverse to Munster - their only defeat to far this season - Ulster carried a slender lead into the interval thanks to three penalties from the reliable Pienaar.
But the game exploded into life after the break when, after Diack had latched on to Rob Herring's pass to score, No.8 Williams showed immense power to drive over and extend the home side's advantage.
North was stretchered off in between the scores, leaving Wales sweating on his fitness ahead of the this year's RBS Six Nations campaign.
Josh Turnbull grabbed Scarlets' first try of the evening, showing great pace and power to make it to the line in the 67th minute, but a fantastic line run by Trimble five minutes later saw him burst through at pace and dive straight under the posts.
The conversion was taken quickly as Ulster pushed for the bonus-point and they were awarded a penalty try as an offside Aled Thomas cynically intercepted a pass.
A dominant evening for Ulster ended with McComb going over the whitewash with three minutes to go and a late score by Scott Williams did nothing to dampen their spirits.