Rugby Union

Ulster kick off PRO14 season with a 35-24 bonus point victory over Benetton, Treviso

Ulster secured their bonus after Marcell Coetzee stormed over from the back of a maul against Benetton, Treviso
John Flack

Friday October 2 2020: Guinness PRO14: Ulster 35 Benetton, Treviso 24 

THE word convincing may not be entirely appropriate, but Ulster kicked off the new PRO14 season with a 35-24 bonus point win over a stubborn Benetton, Treviso outfit in Belfast last night.

In front of 600 spectators at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast the province opened their campaign with a five-try victory, however the game wasn't won until they had been suitably scared by the carefree Italians.

After taking the lead through scores from the young trio of James Hume, Stewart Moore and Michael Lowry, a yellow card to Jacob Stockdale allowed Treviso to peg them back at the interval, but tries after the restart from Marcell Coetzee and Adam McBurney got Dan McFarland's side off to the ideal start.

The province were even able to give debuts to Ireland Under-20s captain David McCann and tighthead prop Gareth Milasinovich late on as McFarland explores his squad depth early in the new season.

It had started superbly for Ulster, who were two tries to the good after just 14 minutes as their young back-line clicked immediately and rewarded them with a pair of seven-pointers.

The first came after the quick thinking of John Cooney, who dropped the ball onto the outside of his foot from the back of a maul and stabbed it through perfectly for Hume to dive onto for the opener, and the scrum-half was involved again in the second.

He provided the telling pass for centre Moore to canter over to finish off a flowing move that started on Ulster's 22, with Stockdale making the key incision that allowed him to pass inside for Cooney and then onto Moore.

Treviso struck back when Federico Ruzza drove over from close range for their opening points before Ulster extended their lead again through Lowry, who took advantage of a two-on-one at the line to dive over.

But then came Stockdale's costly yellow, the full-back hitting Dewaldt Duvenage too high in his own 22, and while down to 14 men the Italians came back to tie, young fly-half Paolo Garbisi going over first before Abraham Steyn stretched just far enough to dot down on the stroke of half-time.

Garbisi then put the Italians in the lead for the first time in the game when he stroked over the first penalty of the night four minutes after the restart, but the lead was short lived as Ulster secured their bonus point two minutes later, Coetzee diving over from the back of a maul.

That allowed McFarland to call on McCann from the bench, the back rower replacing Sean Reidy, while Milasinovich was also introduced from the bench for his provincial debut as well with 10 minutes to go.

And it was with their help that Ulster secured the victory, keeping the Italians at bay as they threatened to retake the lead late on before.

Ulster snatched the clinching score with just over five minutes to play, replacement hooker McBurney diving over from the back of a maul to make the result safe.

Guinness PRO14

Ulster (21) 35 Benetton Treviso (21) 24


Ulster (21) 35.
Tries: Hume, S. Moore, Lowry, Coetzee, McBurney.
Cons: Cooney 3, Lowry, Johnston.
Benetton Treviso (21) 24.
Tries: Ruzza, Garbisi, Steyn. Cons: Garbisi 3. Pens: Garbisi.
Zebre (3) 6.
Pens: Canna 2.
Cardiff Blues (10) 16.
Tries: Adams. Cons: Evans. Pens: Evans 2, Tovey

Full match stats...

Ulster (21) 35 Benetton Treviso (21) 24
Ulster: Tries: Hume, S. Moore, Lowry, Coetzee, McBurney.
Cons: Cooney 3, Lowry, Johnston.
Ulster: Stockdale, Gilroy, Hume, S. Moore, Lyttle, Lowry,
Cooney, McGrath, Herring, M. Moore, Carter, Henderson, Rea,
Reidy, Coetzee.
Replacements: Johnston for Lowry (59),
Mathewson for Cooney (59), O'Sullivan for McGrath (41),
McBurney for Herring (64), Milasinovich for M. Moore (69),
D. O'Connor for Carter (52), McCann for Reidy (56),
Ludik for Coetzee (74).
Sin Bin: Stockdale (32).
Benetton Treviso: Tries: Ruzza, Garbisi, Steyn.
Cons: Garbisi 3. Pens: Garbisi.
Benetton Treviso: Hayward, Ratuva, Brex, Zanon, Ioane, Garbisi,
Duvenage, Traore, Faiva, Riccioni, Lazzaroni, Ruzza, Negri,
Steyn, Halafihi.
Replacements: Padovani for Ratuva (64),
Braley for Duvenage (59), Quaglio for Traore (56),
Lucchesi for Faiva (51), Ferrari for Riccioni (41),
Pettinelli for Ruzza (64), Cannone for Negri (51),
Snyman for Halafihi (51).
Ref: Adam Jones (Wales).

Guinness PRO14
Leinster (21) 35 Dragons (0) 5


Leinster (21) 35.
Tries: Ringrose, Larmour, Lowe 2, Baird.
Cons: Sexton, Ringrose, R. Byrne 3.
Dragons (0) 5.
Tries: Hewitt.

Full match stats...

Leinster (21) 35 Dragons (0) 5
Leinster: Tries: Ringrose, Larmour, Lowe 2, Baird.
Cons: Sexton, Ringrose, R. Byrne 3.
Leinster: Keenan, Larmour, Ringrose, Frawley, Lowe, Sexton,
Gibson-Park, E. Byrne, R. Kelleher, Bent, Fardy, Ryan, Ruddock,
van der Flier, Conan.
Replacements: R. Byrne for Sexton (23),
McGrath for Gibson-Park (68), Healy for E. Byrne (49),
Cronin for R. Kelleher (49), Porter for Bent (49),
Deegan for Conan (49).
Not Used: Baird, T. O'Brien.
Sin Bin: Ruddock (78).
Dragons: Tries: Hewitt.
Dragons: Talbot-Davies, Holmes, Tompkins, Roberts, Hewitt,
S. Davies, R. Williams, Harris, Dee, Jarvis, J. Davies,
Maksymiw, Wainwright, Keddie, Moriarty.
Replacements: Lewis for Talbot-Davies (49),
Warren for Roberts (73), Knoyle for R. Williams (68),
Maguire for Harris (63), Hibbard for Dee (72),
Fairbrother for Jarvis (40), Screech for Maksymiw (49),
Basham for Keddie (65).
Sin Bin: Roberts (16).
Att: 0

Ref: Andrea Piardi (Italy).


Zebre (3) 6 Cardiff Blues (10) 16

Full match stats 

Zebre: Pens: Canna 2.
Zebre: Laloifi, Mori, Bisegni, Boni, Bellini, Canna, Violi,
Rimpelli, Fabiani, Bello, Kearney, Krumov, Mbanda, Meyer,
Replacements: Trulla for Mori (75), Rizzi for Canna (57),
Palazzani for Violi (69), Fischetti for Rimpelli (43),
Ceciliani for Fabiani (60), Zilocchi for Bello (43),
Cristian Stoian for Kearney (64), Masselli for Mbanda (44).
Sin Bin: Mori (8).
Cardiff Blues: Tries: Adams. Cons: Evans. Pens: Evans 2, Tovey.
Cardiff Blues: Morgan, Adams, Lee-Lo, Halaholo, Amos, Evans,
L. Williams, Domachowski, Belcher, Arhip, S. Davies, Hill,
Lewis-Hughes, Botham, Turnbull.
Replacements: Smith for Halaholo (56), Tovey for Evans (69),
Carre for Domachowski (60), Myhill for Belcher (16),
Murphy for S. Davies (74).
Not Used: D. Lewis, Robinson, Jones.
Sent Off: Turnbull (42).

Ref: George Clancey (RFU).


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