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Ulster 45-7 Aironi
18.58 – Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog. Aironi have been improving of late, so this game may not be quite as easy for Ulster as some people assume.
19.00 – Here are the teams:
Ulster: Terblanche, Trimble, Cave, Wallace, Gilroy, Humphreys, Pienaar, Court, Best, Afoa, Muller, Stevenson, Ferris, Henry, Wannenburg.
Replacements: Brady, McAllister, Macklin, Tuohy, W Faloon, P Marshall, Whitten, D’Arcy.
Aironi: Toniolatti, Sinoti, Quartaroli, Pratichetti, Venditti, Olivier, Tebaldi, Alberto De Marchi, Ongaro, Staibano, Biagi, Del Fava, Furno, Cattina, Bergamasco.
Replacements: Denti, Andrea De Marchi, Perugini, Geldenhuys, Ferrarini, Keats, Orquera, G. Pavan.
19.09 – And we’re underway…
19.15 – Aironi are penalised for tackling an Ulster player without the ball, and the home side opt to kick into the corner.
19.21 – We’ve been playing for less than ten minutes and Gilroy has already produced two sublime takes under the high ball.
Meanwhile, for Aironi, Sinoti Sinoti consummately dodges past two Ulster tackles before being stopped just short of the line. The hosts will need to keep a close eye on him.
19.23 – TRY FOR ULSTER!
19.26 – Humphries shows two dummies before finding an onrushing Paddy Wallace with the perfect pass. The Ireland international crosses over unchallenged and Pienaar gets the conversion straight in front of the posts.
19.33 – PENALTY TRY FOR ULSTER!
19.35 – The referee gets fed up with Aironi’s persistent infringements while defending a five-metre scrum and eventually decides to award another try for Ulster. Pienaar again makes no mistake with the conversion.
19.40 – The referee tells both sides to calm down and says there was an incident that none of the officials managed to see.
19.44 – TRY FOR AIRONI!
19.47 – Ulster seem to completely lose their concentration, as they’re caught out by a short line-out, allowing Tebaldi to barge over the line relatively comfortably. Olivier gets a difficult conversion.
19.51 – Almost immediately, Pienaar extends Ulster’s advantage to ten points with another confidently-taken penalty.
19.54 – TRY FOR ULSTER!
19.58 – Apologies, TG4′s stream of the game was temporarily cut off, meaning we missed that Ulster try. However, I am reliably informed that Rory Best, the stand-in Ireland captain, scored it. Pienaar also made no mistake with the conversion.
20.03 – HALF-TIME: ULSTER 24-7 AIRONI
20.09 – Ulster are very much on top, with the second half about to begin. A bonus point seems inevitable at this stage.
20.10 – We’re up and running once again…
20.13 – TRY FOR ULSTER!
20.16 – An Aironi line-out in their 22 goes awry, and a quick exchange of passes across the Ulster backline allows Darren Cave to exploit space in the visitors’ defence and score the simplest of tries. Pienaar gets a straightforward conversion, and Ulster have their bonus point.
20.20 – Judging by the RaboDirect Pro12 table, Aironi are the worst side in the competition, and this performance does little to dispel that notion. It’s all too easy for Ulster at the moment.
20.27 – Ulster seem to have been taking it easy since that last try. It’s hardly surprising, given that they now have little to play for having secured the bonus point.
Amid all the end-of-first-half excitement, I also forgot to mention that – worryingly for both Ulster and Ireland – Stephen Ferris limped off injured, and was replaced by Faloon.
Rory Best has also just been substituted, with Nigel Brady taking his place.
(Paddy Wallace scores the first try of the game – NPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd)
20.33 – This game has become somewhat of a damp squib, with Ulster more or less home and dry, and Aironi seemingly incapable of troubling the hosts unduly.
20.35 – And Ulster themselves seem to recognise that the game is over. With just under 20 minutes to play, they’ve taken off key men such as Pienaar and Best.
20.36 – TRY FOR ULSTER!
20.41 – Swift passing across the backline allows Tom Court to storm over the line for his side’s fifth try. The substitute Marshall subsequently gets the conversion, taking up where Pienaar left off.
Take nothing away from Ulster’s highly professional performance, but Aironi gave this game up long ago.
20.49 – TRY FOR ULSTER!
20.51 – Wannenburg collects the ball from a scrum and drives over the line, as Aironi seem only to make token efforts to stop him. Marshall converts, continuing his and Ulster’s 100% kicking record.
20.54 – Aironi are about to be put out of their misery…
20.57 – The TV director seems bored. He’s constantly showing images of smiling faces from the crowd rather than the action itself.
20.58 – FULL TIME: ULSTER 45-7 AIRONI
21.00 – Paddy Wallace expresses hope that Stephen Ferris will be okay and praises an “outstanding team performance”.
21.09 – Make no mistake, this game was every bit the emphatic victory that the sc0reline suggests. Except for a solitary try, Aironi rarely threatened the hosts, and their inept display was consequently exposed, thanks to a solid Ulster performance.
21.15 – Okay, that’s it from me. Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting, and enjoy your weekend – preferably while reading some more of TheScore.ie‘s upcoming GAA, rugby and soccer-related liveblogs. Laters.