Ulster bounced back to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a five try drubbing of Scarlets on Friday night.
The Irish Province moved 11 points clear after this resounding victory which came following a blistering second half display.
Ruan Pienaar marked his 50th cap for Ulster with a near perfect display, controlling the game well and kicking four penalties and two conversions for a 100 per cent return before he was stood down on the hour mark.
It was the perfect response the Ulster management had wanted after the disappointing first defeat to Munster in Limerick last week and ahead of two massive Pool Four games in the Heineken Cup over the next two weeks.
Munster could reduce Ulster’s lead to 10 points at the top of the table tonight when they entertain Cardiff Blues in Cork – that is just the sort of cushion Ulster will be happy with as they ended this block of Pro12 fixtures.
Scarlets who started the night in second place, dropped to fourth with Glasgow and Ospreys moving up.
Ulster trailed 3-0 after eight minutes when a penalty infringement was punished by Scarlets outhalf, Aled Thomas.
There was little spark from Ulster during that first quarter, but a loopy forward pass by the Scarlets and a penalty at a scrum on 21 minutes provided milestone making Ulster scrumhalf, Ruan Pienaar, with a penalty opportunity and he drilled the ball sweetly home to level the scores and lift the spirits of the home ground.
Another attack saw a trademark charge from Williams on 33 minutes resulted in the Scarlets being penalised for hands in the ruck.
Pienaar duly obliged to nudge Ulster 6-3 ahead. Tuohy made another surging burst - it was to be his last act, replaced by Neil McComb.
But Ulster now had bite to their game, a long clearance was brought up by Trimble and then Henry took ball on before the Scarlets were caught offside.
Pienaar, from the 10m line, made no mistake with his third successful kick and a 9-3 lead the hosts deserved on 37 minutes.
Ulster exploded into action in the second half when having got into a strong position close to the Scarlets line, hooker Rob Herring peeled away and fed inside to blindside loose, Diack, who went in under the posts.
Pienaar added the easy extras and slotted over a penalty on 48 minutes to push Ulster into a 19-3 advantage.
The Scarlets were starved of possession and Ulster were soon pushing with Williams making a huge break. Wallace was unable to take the pass but from the Ulster scrum the drive came on and it was no surprise to see Williams emerge with the ball and Pienaar converted the try for a 26-3 lead.
Ulster put in a huge defensive effort and herded the red shirts out, but they came again and winger, Phillips made a super run into the Ulster ‘22’. The Ulster defence will not be pleased at the ease at which blindside Josh Turnbull was able to go in for a soft try, converted by Jones with 10 minutes remaining.
Gilroy showed his pace and guile as he eased past three defenders before being hauled down. Ulster recycled and moved it right, but as they entered the red zone they lost possession, however when Ulster got ball back, their patience paid off, Gilroy and Cave combined and Trimble took an inside pass to tear through the visiting defence for a try.
Cave drop kicked the conversion with the home side now seeking the bonus point try.
Ulster were attacking, and Cave was just held up short, ball was switched right. The pass would have found Gilroy had it not been for outhalf Thomas tracking lazily back there would have been a try.
Thomas was yellow carded and the referee awarded the penalty try - Jackson converted and it was 40-10. The home side were not finished yet and replacement lock, McComb was rewarded with a try and Jackson converted to complete the scoring at 47-10.
A consolation goal from Williams in the final play of the game, could not take the gloss of an Ulster win as they prepare to do battle with an in form Glasgow in Belfast next Friday.