RaboDirect PRO12: Tommy Bowe stars as Ulster crush Dragons
Last Updated: 12/04/13 10:00pm
Tommy Bowe: scored the opening try
Ulster went back to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a 31-5 bonus-point win over Dragons.
Ireland winger Tommy Bowe marked his return to the starting line-up with the opening try and Ulster then added to that with scores from the impressive Stuart Olding, Darren Cave and Paul Marshall.
Ruan Pienaar - who started at outside half - kicked all the conversions and added a penalty for a perfect night from the tee.
Ulster led 24-0 at half-time and had greatly benefited from the first half sin-binning of Dan Evans to score 17 of those points.
The hosts' pressure finally told six minutes before the half hour when Ulster attacked off a scrum and Nick Williams put Paul Marshall clear and the scrum half drew the defence and put Bowe in at the right corner, with Pienaar converting.
Five minutes later and with Evans sent to the bin by Leighton Hodges for back chat, Pienaar's penalty made it 10-0.
Ulster then further punished the 14-man Dragons and after Craig Gilroy's wonderful break had established the home side deep inside the Dragons' 22, an angled run by Bowe saw the ball snapped up by Olding who smashed over.
Pienaar again added a terrific conversion and Ulster were now 17-0 to the good and then almost immediately scored again after Prydie sliced a clearance over his own line while under pressure allowing the home side to gather possession and put Cave clear on the right.
Four minutes after the restart the busy Marshall sniped over from close range down the narrow side from a ruck to bag the bonus try which Pienaar again converted.
With both benches being emptied and breaking up the game there were no further scores until the 69th minute when Prydie scored after Toby Faletau's tremendous break out as the Dragons started to run the ball from deep.
It proved to be the last score of the game though Ulster came close on a number of occasions and really should have come away with a couple more tries though the maximum points proved sufficient reward for their efforts.
RaboDirect PRO12 2012/13 Round 19
Ulster will aim to finish at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table when they take on Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill.
Connacht say goodbye to their number seven Johnny O'Connor when they take on Glasgow at the Galway Sportsground.
Paul O'Donohoe's last-minute try salvaged a 23-23 draw for Connacht in Treviso.
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