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- Guinness PRO12
- 11th Apr 2014
- KO 19:05
- Ground: Ravenhill, Belfast
- Att: 13,100
RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster score eight tries in Connacht thrashing
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Ulster boosted their hopes of reaching the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs by crushing Connacht 58-12 Connacht at Ravenhill.
Andrew Trimble grabbed a hat-trick of tries and Paul Marshall bagged a brace, while Tommy Bowe, Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy also touched down in the bonus-point victory.
Fly-half Paddy Jackson added 16 points to the Ulster total with the boot while his replacement James McKinney landed one conversion. Connacht's tries came from Dave McSharry and Darragh Leader.
Ulster were up and running inside five minutes after Dan Parks curiously opted to cross-kick for Fionn Carr when unable to kick directly to touch due to the ball being passed back to the former Scotland international from outside the visitors' 22.
Ulster gobbled up possession and scrum-half Paul Marshall darted over, though Jackson was unable to land the conversion.
But Connacht immediately hit back and, after securing the restart, they recycled the ball through multiple phases before Robbie Henshaw created the space out left for McScharry to score after seven minutes.
Parks missed the extras and the scores only remained level for four minutes as Jackson slotted an 11th minute penalty to put Ulster 8-5 up.
That became 13-5 when some slick handling saw Trimble pop up on the left wing and dance down the touchline to score Ulster's second try, which again went unconverted by Jackson.
The home side then got their third when a Trimble break put Bowe over near the posts and this time Jackson added the conversion off the post.
They had their bonus point two minutes later when a quick throw by Trimble was taken in by Paul Marshall, whose angled run got him in under the sticks. Jackson added the two points and Ulster were 27-5 up after just 23 minutes.
Jackson then bagged his second penalty just before half-time to give the home side a 30-5 lead at the break.
Ulster scored again a minute into the new half when a Connacht attacking pass went to ground just outside Ulster's 22 and Bowe picked up and fed inside to Trimble, who ran on unopposed to score his second.
Luke Marshall then got over for Ulster's sixth score after lovely hands from Bowe, who hit Jackson on the loop before the fly-half put the centre away.
With Connacht replacement Michael Swift binned in the 57th minute, Trimble raced over for his hat-trick a minute later and Jackson's fifth conversion took the home tally past 50.
Just after the hour mark, the visitors finally got another score when replacement Leader's effort was converted by fellow sub Miah Nikora.
But normal service was resumed five minutes later when Gilroy got on the end of McKinney's chip through and the replacement fly-half then landed a superb conversion.
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Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com