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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 28th September|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton Treviso|
|Saturday 27th September|
|Munster 14 - 19 Ospreys|
|Zebre 13 - 6 Ulster|
|Friday 26th September|
|Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff Blues|
|Glasgow 39 - 21 Connacht|
|Edinburgh 20 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 21st September|
|Ospreys 62 - 13 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton Treviso|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 Glasgow|
|Friday 19th September|
|Connacht 10 - 9 Leinster|
|Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 Ulster|
|Munster 31 - 5 Zebre|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 Glasgow|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Leinster 42 - 12 Scarlets|
|Friday 12th September|
|Ulster 33 - 13 Zebre|
|Edinburgh 13 - 14 Connacht|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys|
|Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 Munster|
|Sunday 7th September|
|Zebre 26 - 41 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Glasgow 22 - 20 Leinster|
|Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 32 - 32 Ulster|
|Friday 5th September|
|Munster 13 - 14 Edinburgh|
|Ospreys 44 - 13 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com