Ireland international Iain Henderson bagged a brace for Ulster as they made it back-to-back wins against Scarlets in the Champions Cup on Friday night.
Two scores for Henderson and one apiece for fellow internationals John Cooney and Jacob Stockdale ensured Ulster triumphed 30-15 in a game packed with Guinness Six Nations stars on either side.
The 26-year-old lock grabbed the first try of the game for the hosts following relentless pressure on the defence of the Welsh visitors, barrelling over the line from a few metres out.
His score came just moments after captain Rory Best – who became Ulster’s most-capped player in Europe – was agonisingly held up short of the line on his milestone appearance.
Ireland scrum-half Cooney converted Henderson’s try to add to his earlier penalty to give Ulster a 10-3 lead at the break after Welsh star Rhys Patchell got his side on the board.
A stunning try from Jonathan Davies following an interception from Gareth Davies saw Scarlets draw level at the start of the second period – but it did not last long as Ulster hit back immediately.
Stockdale, the 2018 Six Nations Player of the Championship, showed his class to gather a sumptuous chip from Billy Burns before outstripping the Scarlets’ defence to dot down.
Cooney added a further three points from the tee to extend Ulster’s lead to 18-10 before Henderson forced his way over the line for a second time after multiple phases in the Scarlets 22m.
A further try from Cooney, who finished with a personal tally of 15 points, sealed the bonus-point for Ulster just after the hour following a textbook lineout from Best and Henderson.
Tom Prydie scored a late consolation for the visitors, but it made no difference to the result as Henderson took the plaudits in Belfast for his commanding performance.