Ulster v Southern Kings: Ulster run in nine tries in dominant win over Southern Kings
Ulster Rugby 59
Southern Kings 10
Jono Gibbes will be delighted with the start to his tenure as head coach of Ulster after his side ran in nine tries in a dominant 59-10 win over the Southern Kings at Kingspan Stadium.
Man of the Match Craig Gilroy ran in a hat trick, with six second half tries making the scoreline reflective of how one-sided the tie was, however the hosts will be concerned with injuries to Charles Piutau, Sean Reidy and Lyttle.
It took six minutes for Ulster to score their first, Gilroy shrugging off a tackle to cross from the back of a maul, with Kings full-back Masixole Banda replying with a penalty shortly after.
Gilroy then turned provider, breaking the line and passing inside for Stuart McCloskey to take it the rest of the way, but joy turned to concern when both Piutau and Reidy had to be helped off.
Winger Gilroy bagged his second just before the interval in almost identical fashion to the first, and the bonus point was secure two minutes after the restart when Johnny McPhillips, on his first start, was put over by Luke Marshall.
McPhillips himself then threw a brilliant pass over the top to send Lyttle over for his first, before Gilroy wrapped up his hat-trick by finishing a length of the field counter attack after a good turnover in their own 22.
Another superb counter-attack was finished by Lyttle shortly after, however he was then withdrawn hurt, before replacement Harlon Klaassen ensured the visitors would leave with a consolation when he was put away by namesake Berton.
There was still time for the hosts to wrap things up with two late tries, Kieran Treadwell going over in the corner before Darren Cave ended the game on a high with a brilliant solo score a few minutes before the end.
Tries: Gilroy (3), McCloskey, McPhillips, Lyttle (2), Treadwell, Cave
Cons: Cooney (7)
Try: H Klaassen
Belfast Telegraph Digital