Ulster made it three wins from three in the Guinness PRO14 after running in six tries to claim a bonus-point win as they beat the Dragons 40-17 at the Kingspan Stadium.
The foundations of the victory, played behind closed doors, were laid in a dominant opening half when the Irish province had already bagged their try bonus and led 35-3.
Louis Ludik crossed twice in that opening 40 minutes with John Cooney kicking conversions for all five of Ulster’s tries, with the other scores in the opening half coming from Marcell Coetzee, Eric O’Sullivan and Sean Reidy.
But Ulster’s dominance did not continue after the break when tries from Ashton Hewitt and a last-minute Jamie Roberts score saw the Dragons at least win the second half 14-5 on the scoreboard, Ulster’s only points after the break coming from an Alan O’Connor try.
Only four minutes in and Coetzee surged over for Ulster after the home side had stolen a Dragons throw and Cooney converted.
Sam Davies then cut Ulster’s lead five minutes later with a penalty shortly after Rhodri Williams had made a dangerous break.
Ulster’s second try came from O’Sullivan after the Irish province surged off a lineout, with Cooney converting the prop’s 15th-minute effort.
Reidy was involved in the build-up for Ulster’s third score, which came in the 26th minute, before the flanker drove over the Dragons’ line with Cooney again converting to put the home side 21-3 ahead.
The bonus-point score now looked inevitable and two minutes later Ulster had it when Ludik dived over in the left corner, Cooney adding a superb conversion from the touchline.
"…one almost fears for Jack Willis"
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He did the same two minutes from the break when Ludik scored his second after a great Ulster attack which allowed the Irish province to end the half leading by 35-3.
The second half was by no means the same one-way traffic and there were no scores until the hour when Ulster – with Matt Faddes in the bin and multiple substitutions breaking the Irish side’s rhythm – were unable to prevent Ashton Hewitt from scoring, the try being converted by Davies.
O’Connor got Ulster moving again following some good approach work by the home team’s pack as he dotted down for the Irish province’s sixth try, although Bill Johnston missed the conversion.
The game ended with Roberts smashing through from close ranger and Davies converting.
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