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Ulster v Treviso: Live scores, updates and result from Pro12 clash at Kingspan Stadium

Follow all the action from the Kingspan Stadium as Treviso set out tame Ulster

By Michael Sadlier

Those who were there will hardly forget the sense of shock which accompanied the final whistle. It was early October 2011 and Benetton Treviso had beaten Ulster for the first time - and at Ravenhill of all places.

The general notion back then had been that the Italians - greatly diluted due to World Cup commitments - would arrive in Belfast, run around a bit then keel over and grant Ulster a generous victory.

But it didn't work out like that. Instead, Treviso came away with the four points after turning over their hosts by the reasonable margin of 23-12 with Kris Burton scoring 18 of their total. Hence the stunned atmosphere around the ground that night as the Italians celebrated taking a mighty scalp.

Four years on and we have another World Cup under way and, though there has been little since to suggest that Treviso are making much progress in the PRO12, the Italians still arrive in Belfast off the back of two narrow defeats which has put more of a spring in their step than normal.

They will doubtless also be somewhat encouraged by their visit here in March 2013 when flanker Dean Budd - who plays tonight - managed to score a hat-trick of tries in a game which ended 29-29.

Since then, there has been plenty of daylight between the sides when they have crossed swords over here - though there have been close encounters at the Stadio Monigo,

Coach Umberto Casellato knows only too well that those results from 2011 and two years ago look rather more like flash-in-the-pan performances than any notion that the Italians are getting close to toppling Ulster again.

Still, Budd is up for the challenge and the opportunity of crossing the line again in Belfast - the 29-year-old scored in their opening game at Munster when the Italians lost 18-13.

"In attack we know we must do better," he said. "And we know that we have a great weapon which is capable of hurting (opponents).

"But there is still work to do to reach the level we desire.

"Psychologically, we managed our two defeats well (narrow ones to Munster away and Edinburgh at home which brought losing bonuses) so that should serve as an incentive to do better."

There have been troubles but the intention this time is to avoid being in a basement scrap with Zebre which, in itself, is a somewhat farcical mini-league as whichever Italian side finishes higher qualifies for Champions Cup rugby.

Coach Casellato said: "Beyond the disappointment at the results, there is still the satisfaction of having played two good games.

"After the World Cup, we will regain our international players, but in the meantime, we are doing well (defensively) - even if we have to improve in attack."

The side has undergone minor alteration from last time out with Matteo Zanusso starting at loosehead prop ahead of Alberto de Marchi and they will again look to full-back Jayden Hayward to keep things ticking over by landing kicks.

Another shock win in Belfast? Not likely but, then again, no-one saw what was coming back in 2011.

Belfast Telegraph


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