The Ulster backline was strengthened by the return of Darren Cave at centre and Jackson - Ulster's nominated kicker for the night in advance of Ireland's Six Nations clash with France next weekend - at out-half, while the pack welcomed back Rob Herring, Declan Fitzpatrick, Lewis Stevenson and Mike McComish.
Alberto Di Bernardo kicked the visitors into an early lead on three minutes courtesy of a centrally-placed penalty, but a succession of handling errors stymied their next three phases of possession, and by the 10th minute Ulster had firmly imposed their stamp on the game. Although Jackson narrowly missed an angular penalty from the Treviso 10-metre line at this juncture, his kicking from open play proved excellent, gaining Ulster more and more territorial advantage as the first quarter wore on.
The breakthrough came on 18 minutes from a 22-metre line-out, with Andrew Trimble latching onto Ruan Pienaar's lay-off and battering his way through a series of attempted challenges to ground behind the posts. Jackson added the extras to set the score at Ulster 7 Treviso 3 with a quarter of the match played.
After the injured Cave had made way for Chris Cochrane on 25 minutes, Jackson added three more points through a penalty he had himself earned, with the Italians not rolling away in the tackle after his smart dummy in midfield. Then strong running, again from Trimble - and virtually the full complement of the pack - took Ulster to within metres of the try-line once more, until a knock-on put paid to the fluent and promising move.
With the Italians temporarily depleted to 14 when Tommaso Iannone was sinbinned for grabbing onto Trimble's shirt as the winger chased a loose ball, Ulster wasted no time taking full advantage, Olding showing a good turn of pace to outstrip a number of Treviso chasers and ground his second try in as many outings. Jackson kept up his impressive kicking percentage with the conversion to make it Ulster 17 Treviso 3.
There was still time in an action-packed first half for Iain Henderson to join Iannone in the bin - for intentional handling in the ruck - and for Olding to provide a brawny try-saving tackle in the corner as the Italians looked sure to score. It proved only a reprieve, however, as Dean Budd eventually went over after several minutes' intense pressure from the visitors, and Di Bernardo closed out the half with a well-angled conversion.
Half-Time Score Ulster 17 Treviso 10
As the second period got underway, Jackson restored the 10-point advantage through a 46th-minute penalty, but no sooner had Henderson returned to the pitch than Stevenson took his place in the bin, for a high tackle around his opponent's neck. His absence was felt immediately, as Budd's back row partner Robert Barbieri bludgeoned over from the restart to level the try tally at two apiece. Di Bernardo converted to leave his side a mere three points adrift.
Jackson then took centre stage again: undeterred when his 53rd-minute penalty fell just short of the posts from distance, the former Methodist College man followed up with a perfect kick from the 10-metre line three minutes later, thereby doubling the slender lead.
An excellent kick to touch followed on the hour mark, piling Treviso under further pressure in their '22', but the Italians cleared well, and bounded upfield with gusto in the hope of an Ulster error as the ball came down. Ricky Andrew claimed the ball well, but saw his clearance charged down, and Budd beat Jackson to the ball as it bobbled around behind the line for his second try of the encounter. Di Bernardo's conversion nudged the visitors into the lead for the first time since the opening minutes, at Ulster 23 Treviso 24.
Jackson responded well to huge pressure on 68 minutes with his fourth successful penalty of the night - retaken after the Italians had prematurely charged his first attempt - and looked to have put the result beyond doubt six minutes later with Treviso again infringing, this time at a crucial scrum deep in their '22'.
Unbelievably, however, Treviso simply poured back to the opposite end of the pitch straight from the restart, and capitalised on some hesitant Ulster defending to pinch the ball at a 22-metre maul, and supply the in-form Budd for his third try in the corner. Mercifully for the Ulstermen, the posts eluded Di Bernardo's acutely-angled conversion attempt, which proved the final action of the match.
Full-Time Score Ulster 29 Treviso 29
(15 - 9) R Andrew; A Trimble, D Cave, S Olding, M Allen; P Jackson, R Pienaar
(1 - 8) J Afoa (c), R Herring, D Fitzpatrick, L Stevenson, D Tuohy, I Henderson, M McComish, R Diack
Replacements (16 - 23) N Brady, C Black, R Lutton, N McComb, A Birch, P Marshall, N O'Connor, C Cochrane
(15 - 9) B Williams; L Nitoglia, L Morisi, D La Grange, G Toniolatti, A Di Bernardo, F Semenzato
(1 - 8) A Di Marchi, F Sbaraglini, L Cittadini, V Bernabo, C Van Zyl (c), R Barbieri, D Budd, C Loamanu
Replacements (16 - 23) G Maistri, M Muccignat, J Roux, M Fuser, M Filippucci, P Derbyshire, J Ambrosini, T Iannone
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|
|Benetton Treviso Score Card|
|Alberto di Bernardo||3||1||9|