The Irish pack provided the platform and their backs ran riot in the second half, with the Blues defence leaking like a colander.

It was always going to be an emotional occasion, the first Ulster game since the tragedy - marked by a minute’s silence and Spence’s initials on the visitors’ shirts

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Connacht gave their season a big boost with a comprehensive 34-6 victory over Heineken Cup champions Leinster at the Sportsground.

First-half tries from David McSharry, Fetu’u Vainikolo and Tiernan O’Halloran fired the hosts into a 22-6 half-time lead, with debutant Dan Park pulling the strings at fly-half.

Leinster were unable to wrest back control of the game and Eric Elwood’s men secured a memorable bonus-point success with closing tries from George Naoupu and Ronan Loughney.

Six penalties from Tom Prydie helped Newport Gwent Dragons claim their second win of the season in the competition as they beat Edinburgh 32-12.

It was not all good news for the victors, though, as Wales flanker Dan Lydiate was helped off the pitch with an ankle injury within the first two minutes.

Prop Phil Price scored the Dragons’ only try but Prydie’s boot plus three drop goals from fly-half Steffan Jones put the hosts in the comfort zone.

Edinburgh scored tries through wing Tom Brown and centre Tim Visser, with fly-half Harry Leonard adding a conversion.

An experimental Glasgow line-up featuring a host of debutants made it three wins in a row for new coach Gregor Townsend with a 22-19 victory over Zebre - but not before home nerves were shredded against the battling Italian side.

Zebre, the new Italian franchise, got a deserved first bonus point for a spirited performance throughout, but in the end the home side did just enough to earn the victory.

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