Ulster 30 - 6 Leinster: Tries from Jared Payne and Paddy Jackson secure solid home win
Ulster took a massive step towards the PRO12 play-offs with a commanding performance against interpro rivals Leinster at Kingspan Stadium.
A penalty try in the first-half gave Les Kiss's men a narrow 10 - 6 lead at the turn but they took advantage of Leinster's second yellow card of the game in the second-half.
With Luke Fitzgerald in the bin, Ulster made the extra man count from a line-out move that saw Jared Payne cross the whitewash and an intercept from the superb Paddy Jackson in the final moments gave the scoreline some added gloss.
Indeed, the home side could even have secured a four-try bonus after a length-of-the-field move with the clock showing red but Rory Scholes just failed to gather Darren Cave's pass in the corner.
The province will travel to Ospreys next weekend knowing that, no matter what happens when Scarlets meet Dragons this evening, they will be in the box seat to secure a place in the top four and semi-finals in the season's final weekend.
Heading into today's game, and contrary to reports, Leinster have not been able to call on Sean O'Brien who remains out with the hamstring problem sustained during the Six Nations.
With Tommy Bowe suffering a reaction in his surgically repaired knee following the hammering of Zebre, Andrew Trimble comes onto the right wing after missing the trip to Parma through illness, while Jared Payne and Craig Gilroy maintain their place in the back-three.
Leinster have an equally experienced unit with Rob Kearney at full-back and Isa Nacewa captaining from the wing along with Dave Kearney who wins his 100th cap for the Blues.
Stuart McCloskey is another returning to the Ulster side as he takes his place in the midfield alongside Luke Marshall, with Stuart Olding dropping to the bench.
Ulster team to play Leinster
J Payne; A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Scholes; P Jackson, R Pienaar;
C Black, R Best (c), R Lutton, P Browne, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, C Henry, S Reidy;
Replacements (16-23): R Herring, K McCall, A Warwick, R Diack, R Wilson, P Marshall, S Olding, D Cave.
Belfast Telegraph Digital