Heineken Cup Pool 5: Ulster record 35-3 bonus-point victory over Treviso
Last Updated: 14/12/13 11:50pm
Jared Payne's 77th-minute try secured a crucial 35-3 bonus-point win for Ulster over Treviso to extend their lead at the top of Heineken Cup's Pool 5.
Tries from Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy, Robbie Diack and Payne saw a spirited Ulster outfit take maximum points from their trip to Italy.
Treviso battled away courageously, but never really threatened the Ulster try-line in a dour game played in dense fog. The match will certainly not go down as a great spectacle, but nevertheless represents a welcome early Christmas present for the Irish province.
The game got off to a busy start with Ulster doggedly taking their opponents through the phases before opening the scoring on 11 minutes when Paddy Jackson coolly slotted a penalty that belied the foggy conditions.
Ulster were intent on playing a continuity game, but their efforts were undermined by the poor visibility. Consequently it was difficult for both teams to impose their respective patterns on the game.
The Italian hosts weathered the storm well, and levelled proceedings on 29 minutes through Alberto di Bernardo to level the scoreline at 3-3.
Jackson had a chance to restore Ulster's lead a minute later, but badly scuffed his kick. But the livewire fly-half ignited proceedings on the cusp of half time when Irish centre Marshall gathered his clever kick on 37 minutes to touch down.
The TMO adjudged that the try to be good and, although Jackson failed to add the extras, he made amends three minutes later with a penalty to make it 11-3 to the Irish province at the interval.
The second half began in similar fashion, with both sides struggling to cope with the horrendous conditions. Jackson extended the visitors' lead further on 46 minutes to earn his team an 11-point advantage.
The Belfast side were determined to extend the lead and assert their superiority, but continued to struggle to get any real structure into their game. However, the visitors did breakthrough again on 63 minutes when Irish international Gilroy squeezed over in the corner.
His Ireland colleague Jackson duly converted to make it 21-3 to the Irishmen. And the Ravenhill outfit extended their advantage on 67 minutes when Diack found himself at the bottom of a maul that crashed over the line - Jackson again added the extras.
The bonus-point was now a distinct possibility for the visitors. But conditions deteriorated even further, making protection of the ball increasingly difficult. But Payne ensured the perfect denouement for the visitors when he touched down after finding himself on the receiving end of a pass from Andrew Trimble.
Jackson added the conversion to make the final scoreline 35-3 and complete a satisfying day for the Irishmen given the conditions.