Belfast Telegraph

Craig Gilroy leads rout as Ulster run riot against Treviso

Ulster 48-7 Treviso

By Michael Sadlier

This was more like it. After the misery of Parc y Scarlets, Ulster struck back with venom on their return to PRO12 action, steamrolling Treviso in a seven-try romp.

And no more appropriate way to mark Andrew Trimble becoming Ulster's most capped player than a thumping win, though the winger was unable to cross the line during his hour on the park.

Anyway, much of Ulster's best work was done in the opening 40 minutes when they led 27-0 with the valuable bonus point already secured.

The pick of the bunch was that fourth try when Craig Gilroy fielded a ball and embarked on one of those trademark runs which saw him weave and ghost past defenders as if they didn't exist.

It was the first of two on the night for Gilroy with Dan Tuohy, Sean Reidy and Paul Marshall having already scored before the winger's magical moment arrived.

Ulster's cause was greatly helped by the fact that Treviso had been reduced to 13 men at around the half hour mark, with the home side bagging 10 points during this time.

The second half saw a brief revival from Treviso before Peter Browne got his first try for Ulster which was followed by Gilroy's second and then replacement Lewis Stevenson rumbled over for his first ever touchdown for the province.

As for the kicking, Stuart McCloskey converted three and kicked a penalty with Peter Nelson converting the last two scores.

So, job done and done well and no doubt Ulster would rather not be heading into another break - this time a week - without a game. Still, for coach Neil Doak it was a satisfying night and a more than pleasing result which took Ulster up to third overnight.

The forwards created a platform and Ulster were rarely in trouble with another strong-running performance from McCloskey causing problems when he had the ball.

But Ulster were much more than just that and when they put width or attacked narrowly, they had far more than the Italians could cope with.

Trimble got an early touch of the ball after Stuart McCloskey had won a turnover and following some aerial ping-pong, Ulster again attacked down the flank and McCloskey was illegally sealed off after a strong run.

Peter Nelson, ambitiously, put it in the corner and, even though Ulster were unable to cross the line going round the front of the lineout, the ball was spread wide. After a strong surge from Gilroy and Reidy, Tuohy dived over.

McCloskey converted the sixth minute score and made it 10-0 five minutes later failed to roll away in the tackle.

The Italians had a penalty shot which Jayden Hayward missed and with Ulster on the front-foot - Luke Marshall nearly put Reidy away - the next scoring chance came their way again but McCloskey was wide with the 19th minute chance.

Two minutes later, though, Ulster had their second try and this time flanker Reidy got over after another penalty was put into the corner and the home side mauled their way over the line following Robbie Diack's take. McCloskey added the extras to make it 17-0.

The wheels really began to come off for the Italians after that with Scottish referee Lloyd Linton binning prop Rupert Harden and number eight Robert Barbieri in quick succession.

The binnings hardly came as a surprise and neither did try number three for Ulster as Paul Marshall scuttled over the line on 34 minutes.

McCloskey missed the tricky conversion and the next one following Craig Gilroy's magical solo run which took him in near the posts after slaloming his way past four defenders to give them a comfortable lead at the break.

Restored to 15 men, however, it was the Italians who managed to get their act together first after the resumption when out-half Sam Christie got over and Hayward converted. Even more bizarrely it had come after Treviso had kicked to the corner and after the ball went dead they won possession off the Ulster put-in. The home side hit back on 56 minutes when second row Browne dived over at the posts to score his first try for Ulster and, this time, McCloskey made no mistake to take it to 34-7.

That became 39-7 shortly after Trimble left the action when Gilroy was put through by McCloskey and Nelson converted to bring the score over the 40 mark as the benches began to empty. Ulster thought they had their seventh try when replacement Lewis Stevenson made a break, but the home side were pinged over in the far corner for obstruction just when the score looked on.

Still, Stevenson got his reward with four minutes left when latching onto the back of a driving maul. Nelson again converted and that was that.

Belfast Telegraph

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