Cardiff Blues 21 Ulster 14
Friday 17 February 7.05pm kick off Cardiff Arms Park
For the second weekend the Blues returned to the Arms Park to face Irish opposition following last Friday’s win over Connacht.
The Cardiff Blues board had met earlier in the afternoon to discuss the remaining three fixtures of the season and will consider the options of where to play Scarlets, Ospreys and Edinburgh over the next week.
Ulster got the first points of the evening through a Ruan Pienaar penalty following Tom James being harshly penalised for holding on. Ulster also got the first try from a Blues lineout. The ball went astray and Number 8 Robbie Diack hacked through. Despite Lloyd Williams sprinting back Diack gathered the ball first and touched down.
Parks put some points on the board for the Blues through a well taken penalty but Ulster had dominated the opening quarter. Despite a good phase from the Blues they failed to get any further points and it was Ulster who finished the stronger when Parks and Henson both failed to clear the danger and Ulster won a penalty that Pienaar slotted.
However, Parks converted a superb touchline penalty to put the score at 6-11 at the break.
Half time Cardiff Blues 6 Ulster 11
The Blues started the second half on fire. A long Dan Parks pass to Ben Blair took out three men and the New Zealand full back was just held short by Terblanche after cutting back inside. However, from the ruck Park picked up and dived over in the corner to level the score for the Blues. His touchline conversion just went wide.
The Blues did come under threat from Ulster when their backs combined well to work the ball all the way into the Blues twenty two however a stray pass was met by Paterson’s big boot, who hoofed the ball downfield to clear the danger.
The Blues put themselves under even more pressure when Parks’ kick was charged down on the try-line, however, the Scottish fly half did well to gather the ball before the Blues cleared.
It was a bruising encounter with Paterson putting in some big hits and Rush going on the rampage. However, there was still room for some flair. The ball came out of a ruck on the left and a beautifully weighted pass from Gavin Henson saw Gavin Evans cut the Ulster defence and feed Tom James who sprinted in to score from 40 yards. Parks converted and added a further penalty in the 70th minute to give the Blues a 10 point cushion.
Pienaar slotted a penalty for Ulster to put them in losing bonus point territory. However, the night belonged to the Blues.
Tries Parks x 1 James x 1
Pen Parks x 3
Con Parks x 1
Tries Diack x 1
Pen Pienaar x 3
Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair (61off) 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Gavin Evans 12 Gavin Henson 11 Tom James 10 Dan Parks 9 Lloyd Williams (51off)
8 Xavier Rush 7 Martyn Williams 6 Michael Paterson 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Cory Hill (54off) 3 Scott Andrews 2 Ryan Tyrell (62off) 1 John Yapp
16 T Rhys Thomas (62on) 17 Nathan Trevett 18 Ryan Harford 19 Maama Molitika (54on) 20 Macauley Cook 21 Richie Rees (51on) 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Chris Czekaj (61on)
Ulster 15 Stefan Terblanche 14 Craig Gilroy 13 Nevin Spence 12 Paddy Wallace 11 Ian Whitten; 10 Ian Humphreys 9 Ruan Pienaar
1 Tom Court 2 Nigel Brady 3 John Afoa 4 Lewis Stevenson 5 Dan Tuohy 6 Chris Henry (capt) 7 Willie Faloon 8 Robbie Diack
16 Andi Kyriacou 17 Paddy McAllister 18 Adam Macklin 19 Tim Barker 20 Mike McComish 21 Paul Marshall 22 Simon Danielli 23 Adam D’Arcy
Yellow Card: Ian Humphreys