PRO14 RUGBY: Ulster run riot against Dragons at Kingspan
Ulster maintained their perfect start to the Guinness PRO14 season with an eight-try annihilation of the Dragons at the Kingspan Stadium which saw the Irish province take top spot in Conference B after a 54-25 win.
Number eight Nick Timoney scored twice as Ulster piled on the points against a much-changed Dragons side and out-half Peter Nelson bagged 15 points from a try and five conversions.
Other Ulster try-scorers were Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Dave Shanahan while a penalty try was also awarded.
The Dragons scored three tries through substitutes Rhys Buckley, Dane Blacker and Will Talbot-Davies in a game which Ulster led 33-13 at half-time with the bonus point already wrapped up.
Two minutes in and Ulster had their first try when the returning Charles Piutau cleaned up a loose pass and combined with Clive Ross and Chris Henry with the latter giving McCloskey the scoring pass.
Nelson missed the conversion but the Dragons cut Ulster’s lead to 5-3 four minutes later when Dorian Jones kicked a penalty after McCloskey failed to release Thretton Palamo.
Then, on 10 minutes, Nelson’s show and go saw him dot down and convert his own score, but the visitors came back again with a second penalty from Jones on the quarter-hour mark.
Three minutes later and Ulster had their third try when a penalty try was awarded as the home side’s maul powered over the line only for prop Lloyd Fairbrother to come in from the side and earn himself a yellow card.
Nelson’s conversion made it 19-6 to Ulster and their bonus point arrived in the 25th minute when Timoney scored his first try for the Irish province with the extras again supplied by Nelson.
Ulster’s next try arrived shortly afterwards when temporary replacement Wiehahn Herbst drove over from close range with Nelson adding his fourth conversion.
The Dragons rallied towards the end of the half when hooker Buckley drove over from a lineout maul, with Jones converting, and the half ended with Ulster leading 33-13.
Four minutes in and Stockdale claimed Ulster’s sixth try after some sloppy work in the Dragons’ in-goal area after a chip by Tommy Bowe. Nelson missed the extras though.
He did not miss five minutes later when Timoney scored his second, putting Ulster 45-13 in front.
The Dragons narrowed the lead to 45-18 after Blacker’s try and Angus O’Brien’s conversion.
Substitute Shanahan then scorched over after 62 minutes with fellow replacement Brett Herron converting, but the Welsh side ended the scoring with Talbot-Davies running the length of the field in the 79th minute.