Ulster secure five-try victory over Toulouse in European Champions Cup
Last Updated: 13/12/15 5:55pm
Ulster scored a remarkable five-try 38-0 victory over Toulouse in the European Champions Cup at Ravenhill.
Nick Williams crossed in the 23rd minute and Andrew Trimble then scored a brilliant individual try to increase Ulster's lead to 17-0 at the break.
Man of the match Ruan Pienaar set up a Luke Marshall score after half-time with a brilliant cross field kick.
Stuart McCloskey and Chris Henry also crossed as Toulouse failed to score in a European game for the first time.
Ulster went into the game knowing that a second home defeat in Pool 1 could have effectively ended their hopes of making the knockout stages but this bonus-point win reignites their aspirations after this brilliant display.
After losing their opening Pool 1 fixture at home to Saracens, Ulster were a transformed with South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar playing a crucial, match-winning role.
It was Ulster's fourth win in their last five home matches against Toulouse in Belfast and the defeat also means Toulouse have lost two of their opening three games in the tournament.
Ulster were boosted at the start by the return of hooker Rory Best to captain the side while Toulouse lost winger Maxime Medard in the warm-up and influential No 8 Louis Picamoles with a shoulder injury early in the first half.
The Irish side were on the scoreboard after 23 minutes when giant Kiwi No 8 Nick Williams barrelled over despite the presence of two defenders after Franco van der Merwe had created the opening.
Paddy Jackson added the extras just before Toulouse had their first player sin-binned, Sebastien Bezy getting the yellow-card for an infringement at the ruck. Jackson popped over the resulting penalty for 10-0.
At the other end, Toby Flood missed a second penalty of the half but at least had the consolation of seeing Ulster reduced to 14 men when Williams was shown a yellow card.
Two minutes from the interval, Ulster were 17-0 ahead when Pienaar recovered from a crude trip by Yacouba Camara to feed Andrew Trimble before the winger chipped ahead to catch his own kick for the score.
Jackson was deadly accurate with another conversion. Pienaar was the inspiration again when Ulster grabbed a third try.
His smart cross-field punt left a stretched Toulouse defence flat-footed, allowing centre Luke Marshall to score.
Despite being tight to the touchline, Jackson slotted over the conversion for 24-0.
Toulouse were shellshocked and Stuart McCloskey slalomed over for the bonus-point fourth try with a more comfortable conversion following for Jackson with still more than 20 minutes to play.
Van der Merwe added the fifth try from a driving maul with replacement kicker Ian Humphreys hitting the extras from a difficult angle for 38-0.
The two sides meet again in France next weekend.