Ulster crash to a 13-30 defeat at home to provincial rivals Leinster at Ravenhill in the Magners League
Leinster produced a classy display to outplay Ulster in Monday's Magners League clash at Ravenhill.
Sean O'Brien punished some dreadful Ulster defending to notch two tries in the opening 15 minutes with Isa Nacewa adding both conversions.
Leinster remained 14 ahead at half-time as Nacewa and Niall O'Connor both slotted two penalties.
Shane Horgan's score made the game safe for Leinster although late Ulster pressure yielded a Craig Gilroy try.
The inclusion of Brian O'Driscoll in the Leinster line-up was a psychological boost for the visitors with the majority of the current frontline Ireland internationals missing because of the IRFU's player management programme.
After his recent injury problems, O'Driscoll was deemed to need the match practice and while he didn't manage a score, he produced a typically vigorous performance before being replaced late on.
Leinster got into their stride quickly with O'Brien charging over for the game's opening try in the seventh minute - helped by weak tackling from Springbok pair Johann Muller and Ruan Pienaar.
O'Brien ran in unopposed again eight minutes later after a break by former Ulster favourite Isaac Boss, who was relishing his return to Ravenhill.
Boss was comprehensively outshining Pienaar in the battle of the scrum-halves and more displays like this could have him back in Declan Kidney's thoughts.
With Nacewa converting both tries, Leinster were 14-0 up and he slotted two more penalties before the break as O'Connor replied in kind at the other end.
Leinster's 14-point lead looked likely to be decisive even though Ulster were going to have a slight wind advantage in the second period.
Ulster needed a fast start to the second half but instead Leinster maintained their dominance.
A scrum infringement allowed Nacewa to continue his impeccable kicking display and Horgan's 57th-minute try ended the game as a contest.
A plethora of substitutions appeared to take the edge off the remainder of Leinster's display.
As Ulster began to throw the ball around, youngster Gilroy notched his fifth try in only three Magners League games after good work by Adam D'Arcy and Dan Tuohy.
The home side produced late pressure but Leinster had already done enough to move ahead of Ulster in the Magners League table although the visitors might be slightly miffed at missing out on a bonus point.
Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin
"We were guilty of schoolboy errors and just didn't appear today.
"That performance just wasn't acceptable. It was a very poor performance by us.
"We tried to play a little bit of rugby [in the last 20 minutes] but by that stage the game was over. The game was won and lost in the first 20 minutes."
Leinster scrum-half Isaac Boss
"I was really looking forward to coming here and running out again - albeit out of a different changing room.
"It was good to be back and we're really happy with the result.
"We had a chance to get another try (and get the bonus point) but we didn't which was disappointing and we let them through for a try at the end.
"Ulster were ahead of us in the Magners League and had a game in game so this match was like a final."
Ulster: A D'Arcy; C Gilroy, N Spence, I Whitten, S Danielli, N O'Connor, R Pienaar; P McAllister, N Brady, BJ Botha; J Muller (capt), D Tuohy; P Wannenburg, C Henry, R Diack.
Replacements: P Marshall for Whitten 65, L Marshall for O'Connor 70, T Seymour for Pienaar 76, B Young for McAllister 52, A Kyriacou for Brady 52, D Fitzpatrick for Botha 70, W Faloon for Henry 65, T Barker for Diack 58.
Leinster: I Nacewa, S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, F McFadden, D Kearney, S Berne, I Boss, H van der Merwe, J Harris-Wright, M Ross, L Cullen (capt), D Toner, R Ruddock, D Ryan, S O'Brien.
Replacements: I Madigan for O'Driscoll 65, A Conway for Kearney 65, P O'Donohoe for Berne 74, A Dundon for Harris-Wright 74, C Newland for Ross 75. Not Used: J McGrath, E O'Donoghue, B Marshall.
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