Ulster run up record score in 10-try rout of Zebre
Les Kiss’s side move up to fourth place in Pro 12 table
Paul Marshall runs in one of Ulster’s 10 tries in the Guinness Pro 12 game against Zebre at the Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho/Presseye
Ulster 68 Zebre 21
Ulster sent out a powerful message to their Guinness Pro 12 rivals from their fifth win in succession as they annihilated Zebre by running in a record 10 tries in a game which also saw them also run up a highest ever total in a game.
The huge result, in this rearranged game from November, moved Les Kiss’s squad up to fourth and back into the playoffs with all the top four chasers now having five games left to play
Ruan Pienaar led the Ulster scoring with 17 points while man of the match Stuart Olding, at outhalf, managed 11. Luke Marshall and Charles Piutau both grabbed two tries in a game which saw a total of 13 touchdowns.
Ulster – who led 35-7 at the break – came charging out of the blocks to score five tries in the opening half with Luke Marshall bagging two. In between his scores Andrea De Marchi got over and Serafin Bordoli converted to briefly draw Zebre level at 7-7.
But after Marshall’s second they stretched away with Pienaar, Piutau – who got the bonus score – and Jacob Stockdale all crossing the line with Pienaar converting all five.
Ulster went on to score five more tries in what remained through Craig Gilroy – fresh off the plane from being an extra man for Ireland in Cardiff – Piutau, with a second, and then John Andrew, Olding and Paul Marshall finished the scoring for the home side.
The only downbeat note, though, came with the sight of Marcell Coetzee being helped off in the first half with a worrying looking knee injury.
ULSTER: J Payne; C Gilroy, J Stockdale, L Marshall, C Piutau; S Olding, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring (captain), W Herbst; K Treadwell, A O’Connor; R Diack, C Henry, M Coetzee.
Replacements: C Ross for Coetzee (18 mins), P Marshall for Pienaar (45 mins), R Ah You for Herbst, J Andrew for Henry, A Warwick for Black (all 49 mins), P Nelson for Payne (55 mins), F van der Merwe for O’Connor (65 mins), D Busby for Piutau (73 mins).
ZEBRE: D Berryman; M Bellini, T Boni, T Castello, L Greeff; S Bordoli, C Engelbrecht; A De Marchi, O Fabiani, B Le Roux; Q Geldenhuys (capt), V Bernabo; M Cornelli, G Koegelenberg, F Ruzza.
Yellow cards: G Koegelenberg (3-13mins).
Replacements: J Furno for Bernabo (50 mins), B Postiglioni for De Marchi (58 mins), L Ferraro for Fabiani (58 mins), G Roan for Le Roux (59 mins), M Pratichetti for Boni (61 mins).
Referee: I Davies (WRU).