Ulster tough it out to see off Treviso charge
ULSTER withstood a strong fightback by Benetton Treviso but did enough to hold on to win 21-14 and maintain their winning start to the PRO14 season.
Les Kiss’ men opened up a 21-0 lead by the hour mark at Stadio Monigo before having to deal with a recovery by the Italians. But a strong opening half where Andrew Trimble marked his 150th appearance, 12 years to the day since he made his Ulster debut, with a brace of tries.
They pushed on to get a third from new Irish international Jacob Stockdale but were unable to seal a bonus point win for the second week.
Trimble pounced for the first try on nine minutes when he pounced on a loose ball off an attacking lineout.
John Cooney has a tough act to follow in replacing Ruan Pienaar but the scrum-half produced another top class display in as man of the match.
Ulster’s pressure resulted in more points as Trimble crossed for a superb team try in the 24th minute. Fullback Louis Ludik offloaded to Trimble on the right-wing and Trimble fed Cooney. The scrum-half drove forward before releasing Trimble with a reverse pass and Ulster’s captain for the evening provided the finish. Cooney added the conversion to give Ulster a 14-0 interval lead.
Ulster weren’t as dominant after the restart but they did add to their tally on the hour when Stockdale touched down.
Cooney again was involved when he charged down a Benetton clearance but failed to gather the ball behind the try line. Ulster got another rub of the green though as Stockdale was on hand to collect and score Ulster’s third try. Cooney added the conversion to give the visitors a 21-0 lead.
Benetton pulled a try back as Federico Ruzza scored off a lineout to give the home side some hope. McKinley slotted the conversion to make it 21-7 with 14 minutes left.
McKinley set up a tense finish for Ulster as he crossed for a try in the 71st minute to set up a good finish. Benetton won a turnover on halfway and broke. Tomasso Allan chipped in, gathered and released McKinley who ran clear unopposed to score. The outhalf converted his own try as Benetton looked to turn Ulster over with a late surge but Ulster held on.