Published Friday, 23 November 2012
Ulster's Paddy Wallace in action against Treviso in Italy. (© Presseye)
Following last week's narrow two-point win over Zebre, Mark Anscombe's men have beaten Treviso 16-15 at the Stadio di Monigo on Friday evening to maintain their unbeaten run of nine wins from nine in the RaboDirect PRO12.
With other teams still to play, the result takes Ulster ten points clear of second-place Scarlets.
It was far from an easy outing in Italy, with Ulster slow to get into their rhythm, conceding an early try in the opening 10 minutes to Treviso's Brendan Williams.
For a moment, Ulster believed they had responded, as Nick Williams attempted to cross the line, but after a televised replay, the referee instead awarded a five-metre scrum.
It took 20 minutes before the visitors would eventually register, with Niall O'Connor successful in kicking over the first of three penalties in the match.
This boost helped Ulster come into the game, with full-back Peter Nelson scoring his first try for the province - an effort converted by O'Connor to give Ulster a 10-7 lead after 24 minutes.
By the interval, Treviso had not only equalised through an Alberto Di Bernardo penalty, but had managed to retake the lead.
This time, Ludovico Nitoglia found space in the corner to touch down for the Italians' second try, with Di Bernardo completing the score through a conversion. By half-time, Treviso led 15-10.
After the break, Ulster looked determined to fight back against the improving Treviso tempo, upping their game considerably. Indeed, only Ulster would go on to register in the second half.
Niall O'Connor was first, scoring a penalty after 50 minutes, and just before the hour mark scored again with a penalty to put Ulster ahead at 16-15.
For the second time in the match, Nick Williams was denied a try by the judgement of a TV replay, but in the end, Ulster held strong in the scrum to close the game out by the narrowest of margins.
The win sets up a fascinating encounter between the league's top two on December 2nd, as Ulster make the difficult trip to Wales to take on the Scarlets.