Ulster remain in control of Heineken Cup’s Pool Five

Ulster Andrew Trimble scores a try against  Benetton Treviso

Ulster Andrew Trimble scores a try against Benetton Treviso

A seven try blitz of Benetton Treviso at Ravenhill on Saturday evening was just the statement Ulster needed to make as they resumed their Heineken Cup Pool Five campaign.

The importance of securing a try scoring bonus point victory over the Italians to remain top of Pool Five and in control of the group bore through yesterday evening.

Leicester Tigers ensured they remained two points behind the Irish Province in the group when they registered their won bonus point win in a 41-32 success over Montpellier at Welford Road.

Dependent on what happens this weekend in the group - Ulster go to Treviso and Leicester to France - it is looking as though it will be a straight showdown between the Irish and English clubs for guaranteed qualification to the last eight.

Ulster crucially kept control of their destiny by getting the job done in leg one of the back-to-back games against Treviso.

After clinically blowing Treviso away by scoring seven tries and securing a bonus point win in round three of Europe, the expectation is that Ulster will go out and down the same in Italy next weekend.

But coach Mark Anscombe (below) was playing down any prospects of another easy outing this Saturday.

Anscombe said: “The manner in which we went about our work and to score seven tries and nearly scored 50 points and concede none, well, you’ve got to be happy.

“But we know that no two days are the same in this game. And we’re not going to kid ourselves that next week is going to be a walkover.

“The fact is that we know it’s a different challenge over there and they have a proud home record.

“We respect them enormously on their home track,” Anscombe added before referring to last season’s back-to-back clashes with Northampton - when Ulster won the first clash at Franklin’s Gardens before losing the return at Ravenhill which undermined their bid for a home quarter-final.

“We were sitting over in England this time last year and we were pretty happy about what we achieved.

“But we didn’t back it up and we let ourselves down and it took away an opportunity of a home quarter-final.

“Hopefully we’ll learn from our mistakes.

“There will be a different challenge next week and it’s going to be their coach’s last game.”

Franco Smith is set for an early departure from Treviso and Anscombe said: “The guys at Treviso)will want to send him off in the right manner and what we have already done will count for nothing next week.”

Ulster led 22-0 at half-time thanks to tries from Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and John Afoa, but then had a wobbly period at the start of the second half which also saw Marshall sent to the bin.

Anscombe said: “We lost our focus a little bit at the start of that second half and it took us about 15 minutes to get into our work.

“Overall I thought it was a good performance and the way guys who hadn’t had a lot of Heineken Cup rugby stood up.

“Rob Herring and Sean Doyle on their first starts were outstanding and a few of the guys off the bench really put themselves about a bit.

“And after Luke went in the bin the defence around our 22 was pretty good.”, he added.




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