Ulster secured back to back bonus point wins over Italian side, Benetton Treviso to leave them in command of Heineken Cup’s Pool Five.
Having won comfortably 48-0 at Ravenhill last weekend, Ulster ensured full points from both games when they won the return leg 35-3 at a foggy Stadio Monigo on Saturday.
Treviso had dragged Ulster down for most of the first half with Paddy Jackson and Alberto Di Bernardo exchanging penalties 18 minutes apart to leave it 3-3.
But just before the break Ulster got what they needed to lift their game when Jared Payne’s lovely kick through was gathered by Luke Marshall who went in for the opening try.
Jackson missed that conversion and an earlier penalty which left the Irish Province 11-3 ahead and he made it 14-3 with an early penalty in the second half.
When Treviso had fullback Brendan Williams sin-binned on 57 minutes Ulster seized their opportunity with Craig Gilroy going in for a try whcih Jackson converted to make it 21-3.
Luke McClean joined his team mate Williams in the sin-bin on 66 minutes and a minute later Robbie Diack scored the third Ulster try from a maul after Sean Doyle had been stopped short.
As the clock ticked down to the final minutes, Ulster rolled the dice one more time and a lovely piece of footwork and handling from Andrew Trimble presented the opportunity for fullback Payne to go over for the crucial bonus point try.
Ulster will go into the short break top fo the pool, currently sitting on 18 points. Mark Anscombe’s side are seven points ahead of Leicester Tigers who play Montpellier in France on Sunday.
Benetton Treviso: Brendan Williams; Ludovico Nitoglia, Michele Campagnaro, Alberto Sgarbi, Luke McLean; Alberto Di Bernardo, Edoardo Gori; Michele Rizzo, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Lorenzo Cittadini, Antonio Pavanello (c), Cornelius van Zyl, Alessandro Zanni, Manoa Vosawai, Robert Barbieri.
Replacements: Giovanni Maistri, Alberto de Marchi, Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Valerio Bernabo, Dean Budd, Paul Derbyshire, Tobias Botes, James Ambrosini.
Ulster Rugby: Jared Payne; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Tom Court, Rob Herring, John Afoa, Johann Muller (c), Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle, Roger Wilson.
Replacements: Nial Annett, Callum Black, Declan Fitzpatrick, Neil McComb, Mike McComish, Paul Marshall, Michael Allen, David McIlwaine.
Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)