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RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster crush Dragons to remain in third place
- Edinburgh edge past Ospreys
- Bonus-point victory for Ulster
- Blues slump in Zebre
- Convincing win for Connacht
- Munster beaten at Scarlets
- Leinster sneak past Glasgow
Two tries from Tommy Bowe on his comeback after three months out with a groin injury kept Ulster in third place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table as they racked up a bonus point 38-8 win over the overwhelmed Dragons.
Ulster scored five tries with Bowe's brace - he was substituted at half-time in a performance which must have impressed Ireland coach Joe Schmidt - being added to by scores from Ruan Pienaar, Sean Doyle and a penalty try, the latter which brought up the bonus point after only 32 minutes.
Paddy Jackson also put in a notable shift and kicked all five conversion attempts which will also have been noted by Schmidt, who may be without Jonathan Sexton for next week's Six Nations game against Italy.
Ulster led 31-3 at half-time with their only try of the second half coming from Doyle as both sides tired after their five-day turnaround from their previous games.
Ulster opened their account early with a Pienaar penalty after two minutes and then just on the quarter-hour mark Pienaar crossed the line for a try after Ulster countered from their own half.
A Richie Rees high kick was fielded by Jared Payne who beat Matthew Pewtner and then threw a long pass to the advancing Darren Cave who had Pienaar steaming up on his inside to take the scoring pass.
Jackson added the conversion and Ulster were 10-0 up. That became 17-0 eight minutes later when - shortly after Luke Marshall had to leave the field - a Johann Muller lineout off the top saw Bowe hit the line at an angle before racing clear to score.
Jackson converted and did so again three minutes later when Bowe got over again after picking a great line through the Dragons defence which saw Ulster comfortably lead 24-0 after 26 minutes.
The bonus point was racked up just before the half-hour when after a series of five-metre scrums, and with visiting prop Owen Evans in the bin, referee Lloyd Linton awarded the penalty try which Jackson converted taking Ulster's lead to 31-0.
Rhys Jones then hit an upright with a penalty shot for the Dragons but made good with the last action of the half which finished with Ulster leading 31-3.
With Bowe substituted at the interval, Ulster still pushed on with Doyle getting their fifth try five minutes after the restart with Jackson continuing his unblemished record off the tee before he was replaced around the hour mark.
David McIlwaine then had a try ruled out by the TMO for a forward pass from Payne and the Dragons finally got a score from winger Ross Wardle after 63 minutes which Jones failed to convert.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:40||Glasgow Warriors vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Ospreys vs Scarlets|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:00||Zebre vs Treviso|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Dragons vs Cardiff Blues|
|17:00||Connacht vs Munster|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Zebre|
|14:40||Leinster vs Ulster|
|17:05||Scarlets vs Ospreys|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:35||Connacht vs Edinburgh|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|15:00||Zebre vs Munster|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Ulster|
|16:00||Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Connacht|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 21st February|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Connacht|
|TBC||Leinster vs Zebre|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ulster|
|Friday 26th December|
|Ulster 13 - 10 Connacht|
|Munster 28 - 13 Leinster|
|Cardiff Blues 17 - 23 Dragons|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Dragons 25 - 11 Zebre|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Ospreys 31 - 20 Ulster|
|Glasgow Warriors 21 - 18 Munster|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Edinburgh 48 - 0 Treviso|
|Leinster 21 - 11 Connacht|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Glasgow Warriors 19 - 15 Dragons|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Connacht 14 - 8 Scarlets|
|Leinster 18 - 12 Ospreys|
|Zebre 18 - 10 Edinburgh|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Munster 21 - 20 Ulster|
|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|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com