Ulster surge past Zebre
MATCH REPORT: Two tries from hooker Tom Stewart helped Ulster to a six-try bonus-point victory, as they defeated bottom team Zebre 36-15 at Ravenhill Stadium on Friday.
Dominant Ulster had their bonus point wrapped up by half-time when Stewart Moore scored, with Matty Rea, Callum Reid and John Andrew also crossing as the Irish province won for the sixth time in seven URC games.
They did ship two yellow cards, with Sam Carter and Nathan Doak being binned in either half, while the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Iain Henderson’s return from the bench for his first game time since last June.
Zebre scored tries from Lorenzo Pani and Erich Cronje.
Ulster was up and running after just four minutes, when Stewart peeled around the front of a line-out. Doak missed the conversion from a difficult angle.
Four minutes later, excellent hands from Marty Moore put James Hume through, and Rea scored near the posts, allowing Doak to convert.
Geronimo Prisciantelli kicked a penalty for Zebre after 13 minutes and, following 16 more minutes of stalemate, Carter saw yellow for taking the visiting fly-half out.
Pani then scored from a sweeping back move.
Prisciantelli missed the conversion and Ulster led 12-8. The home side hit back after tapping a penalty, with Reid driving over and Doak converting on 36 minutes.
The bonus-point score came in first-half added time when Moore side-stepped through, Doak’s conversion putting Ulster 26-8 in front at the break.
Doak was then shown yellow on 42 minutes for upending Simone Gesi.
However, the Italians failed to score in his absence and, following Doak’s return and the introduction of Henderson, Ulster launched a maul which saw Stewart score again.
Doak missed the extras and did so again when Andrew crossed from a maul for Ulster’s sixth try of the night.
With eight minutes to go, Andrew had a second score scrubbed out for an offence at the line-out and the game ended with Cronje scoring and Prisciantelli converting.
Tries: Stewart 2, Rea, Reid, Moore, Andrew
Cons: Doak 3
Tries: Pani, Cronje
Yellow cards: Sam Carter (Ulster, 29), Nathan Doak (Ulster, 42)
Ulster: 15 Stewart Moore, 14 Ethan McIlroy, 13 James Hume, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jake Flannery, 9 Nathan Doak, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Marcus Rea, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Cormac Izuchukwu, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Tom Stewart, 1 Callum Reid.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andy Warwick, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 David McCann, 21 Michael McDonald, 22 Angus Curtis, 23 Ben Moxham.
Zebre: 15 Lorenzo Pani, 14 Jacopo Trulla, 13 Richard Kriel, 12 Enrico Lucchin (captain), 11 Simone Gesi, 10 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Giacomo Ferrari, 6 Guido Volpi, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Matteo Nocera, 2 Jacques Du Toit, 1 Juan Pitinari.
Replacements: 16 Marco Manfredi, 17 Daniele Rimpelli, 18 Riccardo Genovese, 19 Leonard Krumov, 20 Iacopo Bianchi, 21 Ratko Jelic, 22 Joey Caputo, 23 Erich Cronjé.
Referee: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Andrew Cole (Ireland), Robbie Jenkinson (Ireland)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)