Match Report: Ulster 35-24 Benetton Treviso

John Cooney kicked four conversions
John Cooney kicked four conversions
©Steve Haag

Ulster 35-24 Benetton Treviso, Kingspan Stadium

An improved second half performance allowed Ulster to come from behind to beat Benetton Treviso 35-24 in their opening round of Pro14 at Kingspan Stadium

Ulster got off to a promising start after John Cooney's grubber kick was grabbed by James Hume for the opening try in the ninth minute and by the 12th minute, Stewart Moore on his maiden start touched down after Craig Gilroy laid the ground work. Cooney kicked both the conversions to take them to a 14-0 lead.

The response from the visitors came in the 25th minute when Federico Ruzza powered his way over the line but his efforts were cancelled out with Michael Lowry dotting down for Ulster in the 29th minute as the home side maintained their 14-point lead.

Ulster lost their way when Jacob Stockdale was sin-binned in the 33rd minute for a tackle on Dewaldt Duvenage and the Italian side made most of the numerical advantage with Paolo Garbisi and Braam Steyn scoring back to back tries as the opening half ended with a 21-21 scoreline.

Garbisi with a penalty goal early in the second half provided Treviso the lead but that was short-lived as Marcell Coetzee crossed the whitewash shortly and Cooney improved it making it 28-24.

With all three results possible, the game entered the final 10 minutes and thats when Adam McBurney scored for Ulster to increase their lead to 11 points and later there was a floodlight failure in the closing stage which the Irish side survived to get their campaign off to a win.

Ulster: Stockdale; Gilroy; Hume, S Moore; Lyttle; Lowry, Cooney; McGrath, Herring, M Moore; Carter, Henderson, Rea, Reidy, Coetzee.

Replacements: McBurney, Milasinovich, O'Sullivan, O'Connor, McCann, Mathewson, Johnston, Ludik.

Benetton: Hayward; Tavuyara; Brex, Zanon; Ioane; Garbisi, Duvenage, Traore, Faiva, Riccioni; Lazzaroni, Ruzza; Negri, Steyn, Halafihi.

Replacements: Lucchesi, Quaglio, Ferrari, Cannone, Snyman, Pettinelli, Braley, Padovani.