Matt Faddes grabs two tries as Ulster secure bonus-point haul in Belfast
John Cooney, Mattie Rea and Robert Baloucoune also get over in dominant first half
Ulster’s Robert Baloucoune goes aerial to score a try in the Guinness Pro 14 game against Scrlets at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Ulster 29 Scarlets 5
Ulster made it five Pro 14 wins from seven as they paid a brief visit back to the league before European matters return next week.
They also scored five tries with Matt Faddes bagging two, one at the start and his second right at the end of the game.
John Cooney, Mattie Rea and Robert Baloucoune scored their other tries with four of the five coming in the first half as Ulster claimed a try bonus point before half an hour. Cooney kicked two conversions.
Ulster were up and running after five minutes when Faddes latched onto the end of Stuart McCloskey’s chip through.
Though Cooney missed the conversion of Faddes’s fourth-minute score, Ulster had their second try shortly afterwards when Cooney muscled over in the right corner after Baloucoune was held short.
This time Cooney kicked a marvellous touchline conversion.
The scoreline then became 17-0 to the hosts just after the end of the first quarter. This time, Rea was driven over from a maul with Cooney again converting.
The fourth try came on 27 minutes when Baloucoune got over in the right corner and though Cooney missed the extras, Ulster were now 24-0 ahead. And thanks to their high penalty count Scarlets were now also reduced to 14 men with a yellow card shown to flanker Uzair Cassiem.
Ulster, though, failed to score during the sin-binning and the half ended with them 24-0 up.
The theory that more scores would inevitably follow didn’t materialise and the game degenerated into a scrappy affair with neither side being able to impose any presence.
With 10 minutes to go, Craig Gilroy was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Ryan Conbeer and then the Scarlets had a cast-iron scoring chance only for Corey Baldwin to knock-on. It summed up their evening.
ULSTER: L Ludik; R Baloucoune, M Faddes, S McCloskey, C Gilroy; B Johnston, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring (capt), M Moore; A O’Connor, K Treadwell; M Rea, S Reidy, M Coetzee
Replacements: N Timoney for Coetzee, A McBurney for Herring and D Shanahan for Cooney (all 50mins); T O’Toole for Moore (58); A Warwick for O’Sullivan and A Kernoghan for Ludik (both 65); A Curtis for Johnston and D O’Connor for Rea (both 71). Yellow card: C Gilroy (70).
SCARLETS: S Evans; C Baldwin, S Hughes (capt), P Asquith, M Williams; D Jones, K Hardy; P Price, R Elias, S Lee; L Rawlins, S Lousi; U Cassiem, J Macleod, B Thomson
Replacements: S Cummins for Rawlins (35 mins); R Lamb for D Jones (h/t); J Evans for Hardy (47); D Evans for Price (52); W Kruger for Lee (58); J Morgan for MacLeod and R Conbeer for M Williams (both 61); M Jones for Lousi (65). Yellow card: U Cassiem (28).
Referee: S Grove-White (SRU).