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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
|Saturday 6th September|
|TBC||Munster vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Leinster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 13th September|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Munster|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Connacht|
|TBC||Ulster vs Zebre|
|TBC||Leinster vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 20th September|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Munster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Connacht vs Leinster|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 27th September|
|TBC||Leinster vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Munster vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Ulster|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Connacht|
|Saturday 4th October|
|TBC||Leinster vs Munster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com