Ulster 45-7 Aironi

Ulster's late-season surge towards a place in the Pro12 play-offs continued as they swept aside bottom team Aironi.

Paddy Wallace got the province on the victory path with a 13th-minute try and the lead was 14-0 when Aironi conceded a penalty try for scrum offences.

Tito Tebaldi punished a defensive lapse to get the visitors' try but Rory Best scored just before half-time for 24-7.

Centre Darren Cave, prop Tom Court and number eight Pedrie Wannenburg got second-half touchdowns for Ulster.

The scale of the victory will be a great boost as Ulster now get down to the job of preparing for the 8 April Heineken Cup quarter-final away to Munster.

Paddy Wallace scores Ulster's first try against Aironi
Paddy Wallace scores Ulster's first try against Aironi

It was a seventh win from their last eight outings for Brian McLaughlin's men and their only worry was an ankle injury to flanker Stephen Ferris, who hobbled off before half-time.

The opening try came after Ulster won the ball after an Aironi line-out. Ian Humphreys' delayed pass found Wallace bursting through on a good line and his try under the posts was duly converted by Ruan Pienaar.

Referee Neil Paterson awarded a penalty try after the Italians just could not live with the Ulster set-piece on their line following several scrums 10 minutes later.

Ulster then lost key player Ferris to what appeared to be an ankle injury and just after the Ireland flanker left the field Tito Tebaldi caught the home side out when he scuttled over from a quick line-out move with Naas Oliver adding the extras.

Still, Ulster kept a 10-point margin between the sides with a Pienaar penalty four minutes later and then with Giulio Toniolatti binned for handling on the deck, Ulster kicked for the corner, won the line-out and Best drove over for a converted try with the last move of the half.

The bonus point duly arrived four minutes after the restart when Darren Cave was put through by Wallace to score under the posts and give Pienaar his fourth conversion.

Tom Court steamed over for the fifth try in the 64th minute and, with Pienaar now replaced, Ian Humphreys landed the extras.

The sixth try arrived seven minutes from the end when Pedrie Wannenburg picked up and scored from a scrum, with Humphreys again converting.

Ulster: Terblanche, Trimble, Cave, Wallace, Gilroy, Humphreys, Pienaar, Court, Best, Afoa, Muller, Stevenson, Ferris, Henry, Wannenburg.

Replacements: Brady, McAllister, Macklin, Tuohy, W Faloon, P Marshall, Whitten, D'Arcy.

Aironi: Toniolatti, Sinoti, Quartaroli, Pratichetti, Venditti, Olivier, Tebaldi, Alberto De Marchi, Ongaro, Staibano, Biagi, Del Fava, Furno, Cattina, Bergamasco.

Replacements: Denti, Andrea De Marchi, Perugini, Geldenhuys, Ferrarini, Keats, Orquera, G. Pavan.

Referee: Neil Paterson (SRFU).

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