Match Report: Zebre 17-47 Ulster Rugby

Tommy Bowe

Tommy Bowe scored two tries on his return from injury against Zebre

Jared Payne scored three of Ulster’s seven tries as they demolished Zebre 47-17 at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi to move back into the top four of the Guinness PRO12 at the expense of the Scarlets.

Ruan Pienaar and Craig Gilroy also crossed for tries for Les Kiss’ side while there were also two scores for the returning Tommy Bowe who made his first start of the season for his province on his return from injury.

Guglielmo Palazzani, who was also sin binned for the hosts, and Ulrich Beyers got the Italians’ tries but ultimately they were easily outplayed by their visitors who now occupy fourth in the table with just two games left to play.

Despite a slightly shaky start, the visitors notched their first try after just three minutes when Ruan Pienaar was set over by Jackson after the fly-half’s break despite the Italians’ pleas for blocking earlier in the move.

It looked like that may set the tone for the rest of the game, but Zebre struck back almost immediately through their powerful driving maul which scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani marshalled from the back and dotted down over the line.

Both sides were playing some enterprising and fast flowing rugby and it was Ulster who picked up their second try next and it was returning winger Tommy Bowe who received an inside ball and broke through the tackle to score under the posts.

Canna added three points from a penalty for Zebre but Ulster were not to be stopped and they added their third try of the game in the 23rd minute when Craig Gilroy outmuscled Dion Berryman to gather a stabbed kick through from Pienaar to notch the seven pointer.

In the sweltering Parma heat it was clear that both sides were feeling the effects of the conditions even in the first half, with the home side feeling the worst of it as they had to do more of the defending.

However they were powerless to prevent their opponents from wrapping up the bonus point as, on the stroke of half-time, quick hands sent Jared Payne over in the corner while try-scorer Palazzani also saw yellow for an earlier infringement.

With the extra man straight after the break, the space was excellently exploited by Ulster who countered from turnover ball only two minutes into the second period and another Bowe line break was finished off by Payne who went over in the corner for his second try.

And it was the New Zealand-born full-back who scored Ulster’s sixth, and his hat-trick, of the game just after the 50 minute mark when he received the ball inside from Craig Gilroy and cruised over for the try.

Substitute full-back Ulrich Beyers did give the home fans, who were out in large numbers, something to cheer about when he capitalised on some hesitant defence from the visitors and claimed his own kick and sprinted over under the posts with 20 minutes to go.

However that was as good as it got for the hosts and their afternoon was summed up when Bowe intercepted the ball and raced the length of the pitch in the dying stages of the game to wrap up the scoring.


The scorers

For Zebre

Tries: Palazzani, Beyers

Cons: Canna (2)

Pen: Canna

For Ulster

Tries: Pienaar, Bowe (2), Gilroy, Payne (3)

Cons: Jackson (3), Pienaar (2), Olding



(15-9) Kayle van Zyl (Ulrich Beyers 50), Dion Berryman, Giulio Bisegni (Tommaso Boni 52), Matteo Pratichetti, Leonardo Sarto, Carlo Canna, Guglielmo Palazzani; (1-8) Andrea Lovotti (Andrea de Marchi 54), Oliviero Fabiani (Bruno Postiglioni 58), Pietro Ceccarelli (Dario Chistolini 46), Quintin Geldenhuys, Valerio Bernabo (Marco Bortolami 46), Jean Cook, Federico Ruzza (Emiliano Caffini 52), Gideon Koegelenberg.

Sub not used: Luke Burgess.

Yellow card: Guglielmo Palazzani (40’)


(15-9) Jared Payne, Tommy Bowe, Luke Marshall (Rory Scholes 73), Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson (Darren Cave 44), Ruan Pienaar (Paul Marshall 60); (1-8) Callum Black (Kyle McCall 50), Rory Best (Rob Herring 46), Ricky Lutton (Andy Warwick 60), Pete Browne, Franco van der Merwe (Robbie Diack 46), Iain Henderson, Sean Reidy, Roger Wilson (Chris Henry 46).


Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)