After an excellent reception from Ulster at kick-off, Simon Danielli caught the eye early on with a penetrating sprint down the left wing, but a wayward line-out soon handed possession back to Treviso, who showed power in midfield and earned a fifth-minute penalty after a Pedrie Wannenburg infringement. Tobie Botes struck sweetly from distance to open scoring at Treviso 3 Ulster 0.
With the Italians penalised shortly afterwards for not rolling away, Ian Humphreys opted to kick for touch but, despite a well-worked line-out, possession was soon relinquished by the visitors. Then, after a charged-down clearance kick from Humphreys on 13 minutes - which would have been punished but for the speed and alertness of Paul Marshall, who managed to clear - Ulster infringed again, and were fortunate not to fall further behind as Botes hooked his penalty horribly wide.
Then, superb handling by Barker on 20 minutes as Ulster powered forward was instrumental in a well-worked try, touched down by Craig Gilroy after the young winger had timed his run perfectly to latch on to Humphreys' searching kick into the corner. The out-half then converted the try from the tightest of angles to nudge his team into the lead at Treviso 3 Ulster 7.
A terrific penalty from Botes on the Ulster 10-metre line just before the half-hour mark reduced the gap to a single point, but another smart clearance from Marshall on 32 minutes gave Danielli the time to race upfield and challenge the Italian ballcatchers as the ball came down. The Scot's physical presence won him possession and, with still a lot to do, he accelerated to evade several Italian tackles and slid over the last few metres for an outstanding solo try. Humphreys' conversion was again spot-on, and the score mounted to Treviso 6 Ulster 14.
The half wound down to a close with a further wayward penalty attempt by the erratic Botes, making the scrum-half's kicking record a disappointing two from four for the first 40 minutes.
Half-Time Score Treviso 6 Ulster 14
A knock-on by the Italians just after the restart gave Ulster a scrum in a promising position but, after patient build-up play in swampy conditions, Humphreys' punt forward just eluded Wallace and Treviso were able to touch down for safety behind their own line. Ulster were in control however, and after smart play from the line-out by Wannenburg and Barker, Humphreys exploited some flat Italian defending with another kick to the corner, picked up once again by Gilroy for the youngster's fourth try in two matches. Humphreys' conversion scraped a coat of paint from the left-hand upright and rebounded forward, but Ulster were cruising at Treviso 6 Ulster 19.
Excellent phase work from Ulster as the clock hit 50 minutes gave Humphreys the chance to carve out another try-scoring opportunity, and his kick on looked at first to have been grounded between the posts by the on-rushing Adam D'Arcy. After a protracted pause while the fourth official consulted the video replay, a decision of no try was returned, and the four-try bonus point was denied.
This change in fortune seemed to lift Treviso, who lumbered onto the attack and were rewarded just before the hour mark with a third Botes penalty, after Faloon had been yellow-carded for not rolling away despite a warning from referee Graham Knox.
An offside from replacement hooker Paddy McAllister on 65 minutes won Treviso some more territory and was soon followed by a further infringement, this time by Wannenburg coming in from the side. But Bothes prolonged his 50% record by kicking wide once again, and Ulster retained their 10-point lead.
Treviso pushed and pushed, but in truth never looked like finding the killer pass to outwit the focused Ulster defence. The final 10 minutes played out in midfield with neither team threatening to add to their tally, leaving Ulster with an impressive second successive away win, and perhaps a tinge of regret that the fourth-try bonus point was not picked up.
Full-Time Score Treviso 9 Ulster 19
(15 - 9) C Burton; L Nitoglia, A Pratichetti, G Garcia, J Maddock; W De Waal, T Botes
(1 - 8) I Fernandez-Rouyet, E Ceccato, P Di Santo; A Pavanello, C van Zyl; F Minto, V Bernabo, M Filippucci
Replacements (16 - 23) F Sbaraglini, M Muccignat, A Allori, E Pavanello, G Padro, B de Jager, F Semenzato, M Sepe
(15 - 9) A D'Arcy; C Gilroy, D Cave, P Wallace, S Danielli; I Humphreys, P Marshall
(1 - 8) B Young, N Brady, BJ Botha; T Barker, D Tuohy; P Wannenburg, W Faloon, C Henry (c)
Replacements (16 - 23) A Kyriacou, P McAllister, J Cronin, N McComb, A Birch, I Porter, I Whitten, N Spence
|Benetton Treviso Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|