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Ravens’ perfect ten seals semi-final spot in style

The Ulster Ravens booked their place in the British and Irish Cup semi-final with a bonus point win over Aberavon at Ravenhill.

Neil Doak’s men scored an astonishing 10 tries to record the most points in a game in the competition — eclipsing Coventry’s 57 — to top Pool C by a point from London Welsh.

The Ravens took the lead on 11 minutes with a try from centre Ian Whitten.

Tommy Seymour made a break, chipped the last defender, but was unable to gather. The Ballymena winger dragged the Aberavon defender over the try line, but had the ball knocked out of his hand and Whitten pounced to get the touch down. Niall O’Connor added the conversion.

The Ravens got their second try seven minutes later through prop Declan Fitzpatrick, who powered his way over from close range.

The Ravens scored their third on 24 minutes, again they kicked a penalty to touch and from the lineout No8 Robbie Diack came round on the blind side to take a pop pass and go over unopposed, but this time O’Connor missed the conversion.

The Ravens wrapped up the bonus point with a fourth try four minutes later when Bryn Cunningham marked his return from long term injury with a try after Aberavon had No. 8 Rory Gallagher sin binned.

Scott La Valla made a jinking run, the ball was switched wide Seymour and flicked it to Michael Allen, who put the full back over in the corner.

Aberavon had flanker Darryl Thomas sin binned on 40 minutes and from the resulting penalty the Ravens opted for a scrum. Cillian Willis barged over with O’Connor converting to give the home side a comfortable 31-0 half-time lead.

Seymour used his pace to get the Ravens sixth try six minutes after the restart and repeated the feat with another touch down two minutes later.

Allen strolled over after Seymour put him clear on 52 minutes to ring up the Ravens half century.

Mark McCrea was the next Ravens player to get on the score sheet with the ninth try.

Ian Humphreys added the 10th try on 72 minutes after the Ravens moved a scrum wide and O’Connor converted.

Ulster Ravens: B Cunningham; M McCrea, M Allen, I Whitten, T Seymour; N O'Connor, C Willis; B Young, A Kyriacou (capt), D Fitzpatrick; N McComb, E O'Donoghue; TJ Anderson, S La Valla, R Diack. Replacements: N Brady, P Karayannis, D Tuohy, M Robinson, P Marshall, I Humphreys, C Cochrane.

Aberavon: M Bennett, R Thomas, L Gadd, C Tossell, C Lewis, J Davies, D Pritchard; M Harris, B Thomas, P Breeze; A Bray, G Ronan, D Thomas, B Thomas, R Gallagher. Replacements: D Davies, P Bamsey, G Harvey, M Breeze, I Moore, I Poley, N White.

Belfast Telegraph