Ulster are up to third in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14 thanks to a 15-28 victory against the Dragons at Rodney Parade.
Despite receiving three yellow cards throughout the game, Ulster were a class above their opponents and eased to four-try victory.
Josh Lewis opened the scoring for the home side in what were tough conditions with a penalty from 40m out but it was all Ulster for the remainder of the half.
A penalty to Ulster for a no arms tackle led to a sustained period of pressure from the visitors as they went through numerous phases just metres from the Dragons line but they eventually knocked it on which allowed the home side to clear their lines.
That respite was short-lived, however, as Ulster ran the ball back and after some relentless carrying in the tight exchanges, Ireland international Jordi Murphy powered his way over the line to put his side into the lead. John Cooney converted to give Ulster a 3-7 lead.
Alan O’Connor gave away a penalty soon after but Lewis’ attempt at goal went to the right of the posts and Ulster’s four-point advantage remained.
Ulster almost scored their second try when a loose Dragons kick allowed the excellent Eric O’Sullivan to break through the defence. The ball went through the hands between Murphy and Cooney as Ulster broke downfield. The final pass went to speedster Robert Baloucoune but he was put into touch thanks to a superb last-ditch tackle from Dragons full-back Jordan Williams.
Ulster were dealt a setback five minutes before halftime when Darren Cave received a yellow card for tackling a player without the ball as the Dragons looked to counter-attack.
Despite the man disadvantage, Ulster got their second try at the beginning of the second half when a series of lineouts in the corner resulted in Marty Moore crossing the whitewash with a close range carry. Cooney converted to give the visitors a 3-14 lead.
Cooney made it three tries for Ulster soon after when a poor crossfield kick from the Dragons was collected by Baloucoune. The sevens star evaded the initial tackle before feeding Louis Ludik who offloaded to the supporting Cooney who strolled in for a try.
A period of Dragons pressure saw Ulster receive their second yellow card of the game when Rob Lyttle was sent to the bin for a deliberate knock on.
Moments later, Ludik went to the bin for the same offence but this time, a penalty try was awarded to the Dragons with the home side having a two-man advantage.
Despite this, Ulster secured the bonus point with just 13 men when a long sequence of direct carrying kept yielding yards and O’Connor was the man to crash over from close range.
The Dragons managed a consolation score through one of the Dragons better performers Taine Basham but they weren’t able to manage a subsequent converted try which would have seen them earn a losing bonus point.
Dragons: Jordan Williams, Hallam Amos (Morgan 55′), Adam Warren, Jarryd Sage, Dafydd Howells, Josh Lewis (Tovey 41′), Rhodri Williams (Knoyle 50′), Brok Harris, Rhys Lawrence, Lloyd Fairbrother (Brown 41′), Joseph Davies, Matthew Screech, Huw Taylor, Taine Basham, Harrison Keddie (Greggains 18′).
Replacements: Ellis Shipp, Josh Reynolds, Leon Brown, Max Williams, Lennon Greggains, Tavis Knoyle, Jason Tovey, Tyler Morgan.
Ulster: Louis Ludik; Robert Baloucoune, Darren Cave (Hume 63′), Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle; Billy Burns, John Cooney (Shanahan 56′); Eric O’Sullivan (Andrew 64′), Rob Herring, Marty Moore (Herbst 52′), Alan O’Connor (Capt), Kieran Treadwell, Clive Ross (Rea 64′), Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Wiehahn Herbst, Ian Nagle, Matthew Rea, David Shanahan, James Hume, Peter Nelson.