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Ulster breathe sigh of relief as visitors survive Treviso comeback

Neil Doak’s side held on to claim their second away win of the Pro12 season.

Image: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Treviso 20

Ulster 24

AFTER A CLINICAL first-half performance had put Ulster in complete control at the Stadio Monigo, Neil Doak’s side survived a real scare as Treviso mounted an improbable comeback but fell short short of inflicting more woe on the visitors.

Ulster were on course to end a difficult series of Pro12 fixtures with a convincing and, more significantly, a bonus-point victory in Italy but almost managed to throw away a 17 point half-time lead.

Coming away from the continent with maximum points seemed a formality for the Irish province after tries from Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar and Tommy Bowe had put Ulster in the driving seat and on the verge of a bonus-point win.

However, Doak’s side have endured a difficult series of fixtures – they had lost three of their last four outings – and an element of uncertainty crept into their play as Treviso rallied after the interval.

It was Sam Christie’s score just before the break that instilled the Italians with a renewed sense of confidence and turned the tide in the hosts’ favour.

Francesco Minto then touched down in the corner shortly before the hour mark and when Jayden Hayward kicked two penalties to leave the deficit at just four points, Treviso had the bit between their teeth.

Paddy Jackson socres a try Paddy Jackson scored 14 points as Ulster survived a real scare Source: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Ulster found the tenacity to withstand the fightback and claim the points but it really should have been all five.

Up until the 38th minute, Doak’s side were completely dominant.

Despite Craig Gilroy’s 10th minute sin-binning, three tries seemed to had quashed any hope the hosts had of causing an upset as they looked to win three consecutive games for the first time since December 2012.

But, with their interest in Europe all but over, all of Ulster’s eggs are in the Pro12 basket and Doak’s selection underlined the significance of this trip to Italy.

The visitors were purposeful from the off and their intentions were evident when, after just a couple of minutes, Pienaar turned down a shot at the posts, instead opting to kick for the corner.

A couple of phases later, Ulster unlocked the Treviso defence. Jackson collected his own kick to opening the scoring after just six minutes and while Gilroy’s indiscipline gave Treviso a numerical advantage, it was Ulster who continued to dominate.

After Jackson brought his personal tally to 10 with a penalty before the half-way point of the half, two tries in quick succession from Pienaar and then Bowe converted Ulster’s supremacy into points.

In the end, they needed all of them to leave Northern Italy with the points.

Treviso scorers:

Tries: Sam Christie, Francesco Minto

Conversions: Jayden Hayward (2)

Penalties: Jayden Hayward (2)Ulster scorers:Tries: Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar, Tommy Bowe

Conversions: Paddy Jackson (3)

Penalties: Paddy Jackson (1)

Treviso: Jayden Hayward, Angelo Esposito, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Andrea Pratichetti, Sam Christie, Edoardo Gori, Dean Budd, Alessandro Zanni, Marco Barbini, Corniel Van Zyl, Tomas Vallejos, Rupert Harden, Davide Giazzon, Matteo Zanusso.

Replacements: Albert Anae, Josè Novak, D’arcy Rae, Marco Fuser, Francesco Minto, Meyer Swanepoel, James Ambrosini, Alberto Lucchese.

Ulster: Louis Ludik, Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black, Rory Best, Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Clive Ross, Roger Wilson.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Bronson Ross, Lewis Stevenson, Sean Reidy, Paul Marshall, Jared Payne, Peter Nelson.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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