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RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster maintain perfect start by thrashing Connacht
Ulster stayed top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table after maintaining their perfect start to the season with a 25-0 win over Connacht at Ravenhill.
The Heineken Cup runners-up built their victory on a dominant scrum, which earned them a penalty try in the first half.
Nick Williams also touched down following a set piece and substitute Luke Marshall added a third try in the closing minutes, while fly-half Paddy Jackson kicked 10 points
The contest was Ulster's first at home since the farming tragedy which claimed the life of centre Nevin Spence and a minute's silence was held before kick-off.
Ulster opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a Jackson penalty as the hosts' powerful scrum began to make its presence felt.
Later in the half, a series of scrums near the Connacht line led first to Dave Gannon being sin-binned and then to the penalty try being awarded. Jackson converted to make it 10-0.
The game was effectively killed off on the stroke of half time when Williams drove over after referee George Clancy had reversed a penalty against Connacht and Ulster had put the ball into the corner.
Jackson's conversion made it 17-0 and in the second half the visitors did not threaten an improbable comeback, with the stand-off adding another penalty before Tommy Bowe won a 78th-minute cross-kick from Paddy Wallace and substitute Luke Marshall skidded in for an unconverted try.
Connacht had a chance to get on the board before half-time but Dan Parks missed his attempt, while a line break from Robbie Henshaw was one of their only other moments of attacking inspiration.
Ulster's victory keeps them one point ahead of the Scarlets in the table with a game in hand over the Welsh side.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster|
|Friday 21st November|
|Ulster 25 - 16 Ospreys|
|Connacht 43 - 3 Zebre|
|Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow Warriors|
|Dragons 12 - 38 Munster|
|Saturday 1st November|
|Ulster 23 - 6 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 28 - 13 Zebre|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 28 Munster|
|Friday 31st October|
|Ospreys 26 - 11 Connacht|
|Glasgow 17 - 9 Benetton Treviso|
|Leinster 33 - 8 Edinburgh|
|Sunday 12th October|
|Ospreys 26 - 15 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 11th October|
|Ulster 29 - 9 Glasgow|
|Zebre 3 - 20 Leinster|
|Edinburgh 24 - 10 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Friday 10th October|
|Munster 17 - 6 Scarlets|
|Benetton Treviso 6 - 9 Connacht|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com