10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Tries from Tom Court, Nick Williams, Ruan Pienaar, Darren Cave, Andrew Trimble and Jared Payne saw them simply overwhelming the Dragons in a whirlwind of pace, poise and power.
Early on Ulster had it far from all their own way. Illegal ball-handling on the ground from Iain Henderson in the second minute allowed Dragons full-back Tom Prydie to split the posts from distance.
Although the visitors enjoyed the lion's share of possession, several handling errors stymied any threat they may have posed. Indeed, the Dragons were able to extend their lead in the tenth minute, once again thanks to Prydie's boot.
Ulster's response on the quarter hour mark was magnificent. Strength and guile from Cave took the centre past a handful of Dragons in midfield, before Dan Tuohy picked up to carry the attack just metres from the line.
Pienaar then took over, supplying Court with a deft pass as he fell under the tackle, and the prop showed great hands to keep hold of a tricky spinning ball and dive in under the posts. Pienaar's conversion took Ulster ahead at 7-6.
Two errant long range penalties from Pienaar and one from Prydie quickly followed. The Dragons were rewarded for a persistent multiple-phase approach with a fine 29th minute try by Andy Tuilagi, converted by Prydie.
Refusing to be outdone, Williams responsed for the visitors just moments later. The Kiwi powerhouse picked up eight metres out and brushed aside four defenders to stretch over the try-line. Pienaar converted to move Ulster back in front.
A Prydie penalty saw the lead change hands once again, but the Dragons full-back was at fault moments later as Pienaar charged down his attempted clearance and sprinted over the line to touch down in the corner.
The conversion veered off target, however Ulster crucially went in three points to the good at the break - 19-16 - and they charged ahead during a very productive third quarter.
Pienaar opened the second period with his first successful penalty of the evening. Terrific acceleration from both Tommy Bowe and the excellent Trimble in two successive raids then threatened a fourth try, although admirable Dragons defence held both attacks at bay.
A further Pienaar penalty after 49 minutes extended the lead to nine points. Prydie cancelled that out only for the Ulstermen to grab their bonus point score soon after.
Roger Wilson entered the fray for his first Ulster cap in over four years, replacing try scorer Williams. The former Northampton Saint was just on the pitch when Pienaar sidestepped through off an Ulster lineout and passed to keep the move going.
The ball rapidly made its way to Cave, who twisted his way over the line via a subtle dummy, sealing the bonus point in the process. Pienaar added the extras for a 32-19 scoreline..
Ulster's fifth try, only a minute later, was all about Trimble's alertness and pace. The winger intercepted Lewis Robling's pass on halfway and outstripped the Dragons chasers for a try which Pienaar converted.
The final 15 minutes of the encounter saw all the Ulster replacements getting a run-out, and indeed it was two of the bench players who engineered the sixth score.
Paddy Jackson did well to latch onto a loose ball, then stole a few metres before supplying Payne with a delicious flicked offload.
The Kiwi full-back still had plenty to do, but ran an intelligent line and handed off the Dragons cover to grab his third try of the season. Pienaar's conversion wrapped up a comprehensive 27-point victory.
|Newport Gwent Dragons Score Card|
|Ulster Rugby Score Card|