Ulster 41-7 Leicester

Andrew Trimble notches Ulster's first try
Andrew Trimble scores his first try in Friday's Ravenhill contest

Ulster took a massive step towards the Heineken Cup knockout stages and left a dismal Leicester facing an early exit from the competition at Ravenhill.

Andrew Trimble's try helped Ulster lead 10-0 and while Geordan Murphy responded with a Leicester score, Trimble's second try made it 18-7 at the break.

Ruan Pienaar put the game out of reach with three further Ulster penalties.

As Leicester imploded, Craig Gilroy and Paul Marshall scored late tries to earn the Irish province a bonus point.

Ulster now head the pool by seven points, although Clermont will be expected to move within two points of the Irish outfit by earning a bonus win over Aironi on Saturday, before next weekend's game in France against Brian McLaughlin's side.

The home team showed their intentions right from the off as they produced sustained pressure after Chris Henry's step inside broke the gain-line.

Further forward charges from John Afoa and Stephen Ferris culminated in Pedrie Wannenburg setting up Trimble for a close-range finish in the corner as he held off Alesana Tuilagi.

Pienaar landed the difficult conversion to further boost the large home crowd's morale.

Leicester looked set to respond almost immediately as Tuilagi's kick infield was gathered by a charging Murphy on the edge of the Ulster 22 but Ferris's massive hit on Anthony Allen averted the danger.

Pienaar added to Ulster's lead in the 12th minute with a long-range penalty after Ben Youngs had kicked the ball away when it was still inside the Ulster scrum.

However, Leicester were back in the game two minutes later as Murphy charged over the line after Trimble's unwise attempt deep in his own 22 to intercept a slick Youngs pass.

With Twelvetrees landing the conversion, Leicester were only three adrift.

But with Pienaar orchrestrating proceedings and the Ulster pack winning the vast majority of the collisions and generating quick ball, the home side quickly re-established control.

Pienaar's impeccable kicking was maintained as he landed another three points from just shy of halfway and it was to get even worse for Leicester before the break as Trimble notched his second try.

Horacio Agulla was far too casual as he ran back to gather possession just short of the Leicester line and his concession of a five-metre scrum was punished as Trimble once again scored right in the corner.

For once, Pienaar failed with the kick but Ulster were firmly in control, 18-7 ahead at the break.

Leicester should have responded with quick points after the break but Twelvetrees missed a penalty from in front of the posts and a further series of errant kicks saw him replaced by Jeremy Staunton before the hour mark.

By that stage, Ulster's lead was 17 points, Pienaar having landed two more long-range penalties.

Stefan Terblanche thought he had scored a third Ulster try on 61 only for Chris Henry to be adjudged to have crossed earlier in the move but Pienaar's fifth penalty soon left 20 points between the teams.

Leicester's dismal evening went from bad to worse as replacement prop Dan Cole was sin-binned for dissent.

The Tigers were down and out as Gilroy and Marshall ran in further converted tries in the final 10 minutes to secure Ulster's bonus-point.


Leicester coach Richard Cockerill:

"We are out. We will be third in our group. We are done.

"We've got some key guys missing, but that is not an excuse and I don't want to use it as an excuse. We should have played better tonight."

Ulster skipper Johann Muller:

"That was definitely one of our best performances in terms of taking our chances and the passion we showed.

"Ravenhill is always a good place for us to play, and the atmosphere tonight was outstanding. The boys delivered a great performance."


Ulster: S Terblanche; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa; J Muller (captain), D Tuohy; S Ferris, P Wannenburg, C Henry.

Replacements: I Whitten for Cave 57, P Marshall for Humphreys 65, N Brady for Court 76, C Black for Best 76, A Macklin for Afoa 76, L Stevenson for Ferris 71, W Faloon for Wannenburg 71.

Not Used: D'Arcy.

Leicester: G Murphy; H Agulla, M Smith, A Allen, A Tuilagi; B Twelvetrees, B Youngs; M Ayerza, R Hawkins, M Castrogiovanni; S Mafi, G Parling; T Croft, J Salvi, T Waldrom.

Replacements: J Staunton for Smith 59, S Harrison for Youngs 76, G Chuter for Hawkins 66, D Cole for Castrogiovanni 55, E Slater for Mafi 57, B Woods for Waldrom 75.

Not Used: Stankovich, Hamilton.