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Scintillating first half display sees Ulster hit Southern Kings for six in bonus point victory

Southern Kings 17-42 Ulster

Ulster's John Cooney scores Ulster's opening try against the Southern Kings (Inpho/Richard Huggard)
Ulster's John Cooney scores Ulster's opening try against the Southern Kings (Inpho/Richard Huggard)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Ulster finished their South African mini-tour with a convincing 42-17 bonus point win over the Southern Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

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The Irish province had the four tries wrapped up by the half hour mark in a scintillating first half display that saw them run in five scores, with the second half consolidation of their lead.

Also pleasing for the coaching staff will have been the returns from injury of Marcell Coetzee and Stuart McCloskey as Ulster kept pace with the Cheetahs and Leinster in Conference A of the Guinness PRO14.

Smarting from last week's thumping defeat at the Cheetahs, it was a perfect start for Dan McFarland's men, who took the lead after just two minutes when John Cooney finished a length of the field score.

Kings fly-half Demetri Catrakilis responded with a penalty, but Ulster immediately pulled away with two tries in as many minutes as Luke Marshall crossed in the 16th minute before Rob Herring went over after a fantastic counter-attack.

The bonus point was wrapped up when a trademark crossfield kick from Billy Burns found Matt Faddes on the wing for the try, with Cooney getting a second for Ulster's fifth shortly before the interval.

The Kings did have a score of their own to celebrate when centre Tertius Kruger went under the posts right before half-time, but the half very much belonged to Ulster.

The visitors did suffer a blow early in the second period when centre McCloskey came off injured, but they carried on with their scoring as Sean Reidy grabbed their sixth and final try on the hour mark from the back of a maul.

It would be the Kings who would finish with a flourish, however, as Adam McBurney went to the sin-bin and the hosts made the most of the extra man as lock Aston Fortuin crashed over to have the final say.

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