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Tom Stewart hat-trick powers Ulster past Dragons

By PA
Ethan McIlroy with ball in hand for Ulster. Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Hooker Tom Stewart claimed a second consecutive hat-trick in the BKT United Rugby Championship to help Ulster to a six-try 40-19 victory over Dragons.

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Ulster also managed tries from David McCann and Nick Timoney as well as a penalty try.

Dragons scored tries through Angus O’Brien, Elliot Dee and Rhodri Williams.

Ulster crossed for their first try after seven minutes when Stuart McCloskey and Jacob Stockdale combined to allow David McCann to sprint clear.

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John Cooney converted from a difficult angle and the Irish province were up and running.

However, the Dragons quickly hit back when Taine Basham made a break, was caught by Michael Lowry but passed off the floor to the supporting Angus O’Brien whose conversion tied the scores.

Ulster winger Craig Gilroy then crashed over for his first score in over a year but his score was scrubbed out after the TMO’s intervention ruled that Duane Vermeulen had obstructed O’Brien.

Just before the half hour, a series of penalties resulted in Ulster mauling over the line with Stewart dotting down.

Stewart was over again from another maul in the closing minutes after Elliot Dee was yellow carded. Cooney added the two points this time to put the hosts 19-7 in front which is how the opening half ended.

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Ulster secured their bonus point on 48 minutes and again it came from Stewart after a line break by Ethan McIlroy and assist from Stockdale.

But the visitors came right back into the game when Dee crashed through from a lineout, Will Reed converting and then two minutes later skipper Rhodri Williams sprinted clear though the conversion was wide.

With just over 10 minutes to go, and from a lineout move Nick Timoney hit a strong line which propelled him over the line for try number five for Ulster.

Cooney added his fourth conversion and it now stood at 33-19 to the northern province and in the 79th minute it became 40-19 after a penalty try was awarded.

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