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Deprived of half a dozen regular starters unavailable through injury or away on international duty, Ulster nonetheless displayed the requisite strength in depth to overcome a highly-motivated Treviso side still smarting from their 75-7 humiliation at the hands of the Ospreys.

This win is an important result for Mark Anscombe's men as it sees thm climb into third in the RaboDirect PRO12 table, keeping them in contention for a semi-final berth with eight games remaining.

As the game began under blazing sunshine, ex-Leinster out-half Mat Berquist screwed a third minute penalty well wide of the posts.

However, Treviso maintained some good early pressure to force another penalty at the breakdown and the New Zealander atoned for his earlier miss with a central kick after six minutes.

Poor lineout organisation from Ulster then gifted possession back to the Italians for a time, but the visitors rapidly regained possession and put together their first truly fluent move in the 10th minute.

Both Jared Payne and Paul Marshall got close to the try-line before Roger Wilson, acting as a makeshift scrum half, picked out Cave eight metres from home and the centre nipped in between Ludovico Nitoglia and Antonio Pavanello to notch the opening try.

It was the Ireland international's fourth try in his last five league outings and the conversion was swiftly added by Ruan Pienaar for a 7-3 lead.

The Ulstermen continued to turn the screw, capitalising on an overthrown Treviso lineout as an exquisite cross-field kick from Pienaar picked out Craig Gilroy on the right. The winger did well to collect and charge for the line but a muscular tackle caused him to knock on.

Cave was again instrumental in Ulster's next try-scoring chance, picking up on halfway and outstripping a number of retreating Italians before kicking on 10 metres from home for Michael Allen to chase. The tracking Andrea Pratichetti did well, however, to get to the ball just ahead of his opposite number and touch down.

Ulster closed out the first period deep in Treviso territory, Luke Marshall making good ground down the right wing until another knock-on called time on the half.

With Tom Court making way for Callum Black at the interval, an early steal at a Treviso lineout came to nothing due to yet another knock on - Rob Herring this time the culprit - and the hosts closed the gap with a Berquist penalty from wide on the left after Wilson had infringed at the maul.

Ulster pilfered possession once again at the next Treviso lineout and with a penalty looming in their favour, back rower Diack broke the defensive line with an acutely-angled run from just inside the 22 and powered past Brendan Williams to touch down.

It was the 28-year-old's fourth try of the season for the province, and his second against Treviso this term.

Pienaar converted once more, but the persistent Berquist again kept his side in touch with a penalty just before the hour mark.

With young back Rory Scholes impressing on the wing as he made his bow in place of Allen, Ulster continued to do just enough to keep the Italians at a comfortable distance.

Anscombe's charges soaked up a good eight minutes of pressure until the award of a penalty allowed Pienaar to clear deep into the Treviso half. They did little with the ball from the lineout, however, as Paul Marshall overcomplicated his pass and Treviso snaffled possession to clear.

Berquist chalked up his fourth penalty of the encounter with 10 minutes remaining, setting up a tense closing salvo with the Italians a mere penalty away from the prospect of a narrow but well-earned victory.

Strong carrying from Wilson on the back of a rolling maul got Ulster deep into the Treviso half, but illegal blocking from the visiting forwards surrendered possession once again, allowing Berquist to clear deep into Ulster territory.

Within decent range for a penalty or drop goal attempt with two minutes remaining, Treviso were frustrated by a marginal knock-on between their forwards, and Ulster were able to scrummage their way to the cusp of the 80-minute mark.

With the clock well into the red Treviso tried in vain to launch one final raid, but the match was brought to an end as the Italians desperately held on too long in the tackle.

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