Cardiff Blues 30 - 17 Ulster
Sat 19 April 17:30 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 8,657 Ref: Andy Macpherson Celtic League

Cardiff Blues 30 Ulster 17

Sat 19 Apr 2008 16:41 Cardiff Blues 30 Ulster 17
Cardiff Blues v Ulster Saturday 19 April 5.30pm kick off Magners League

The last home match of the season saw Ben Blair put the Blues ahead in the opening minutes with a penalty kick Minutes later the Blues had their first try scoring opportunity. Richie Rees broke from his own half but despite having three men outside he chipped ahead and the ball rebounded off an Ulster player before the move broke down.

The Cardiff Blues were dominating possession and territory in the opening quarter and didn’t have to wait long for the first try. Ulster kicked the ball out on the full and great ball off the back of the line by Martyn Williams saw him tap down to Richie Rees. The scrum half spun the ball out and Nicky Robinson split the defence with his pace. As always Williams was in support and did superbly to hold onto the pass and touch down for the first try of the night.

Ulster were soon on the scoreboard when Filise was penalised in a ruck and O’Connor converted the penalty. The Blues nearly scored again when inter passing between Gethin Jenkins and Nicky Robinson on the right, saw Paul Tito pick up the ball from his ankles. As the ball was thrown out Blair came into the line and passed out to Tom James, who just failed to gather with the line in his sight. Ulster were happy to throw the ball around and did look threatening on occasions, but it was the Blues who got the next score. Mark Lewis was tackled without the ball and the Blues were awarded another penalty that Blair converted.

The Blues built on the momentum when they won possession on the half way line and looked to attack. Tom James shuck off his man and used his speed, and threw a good pass to the supporting Molitika. The tongan did well to pass out to Gareth Thomas who sprinted in for the try. Blair added the conversion. With two tries n the bag the Blues were looking for their third and attacking in Ulster twenty two.

Eventually the break through came. After working through the phases the ball was moved right . Deiniol Jones did well to hold on to the pass and move the ball along to Jamie Roberts to touch down. Half time Cardiff Blues 27 Ulster 3 Ulster started the second half strongly and attacked the Blues line well before eventually knocking on when only 5 metres out, the Blues eventually cleared. However, the Ulstermen attacked again. From a line out 5 metres out they spread the ball out and Paul Marshall came close to scoring. From the ruck Caldwell picked up and was driven over for the try. O’Connor added the conversion.

A good break from Gareth Thomas in his own half saw him chipping over the top and hacking on. The move looked promising and eventually lead to a penalty for the Blues and Caldwell being sent to the bin. The Blues however failed to capitalise on field position and Ulster cleared. Despite Ulster improving in the second half the Blues also had their chances. Marc Stchebina did well do break through the mid field but there was no support only yards from the try-line. Ulster however got the next score. A mix up in midfield saw the Dewey hack the ball through followed by Trimble. The ball bobbled over the try line and Trimble touched down. The referee referred the decision to the TMO and the try was given.

The Blues lacked the urgency they had in the first half and Ulster were creeping back into the game. However a Dai Flanagan penalty saw the Blues extend their lead and keep their position second in the league.

Cardiff Blues
15 Ben Blair (50off) 14 Jamie Roberts 13 Tom Shanklin 12 Gareth Thoms 11 Tom James 10 Nicky Robinson 9 Richie Rees (63off) 8 Mark Lewis 7 Martyn Williams (c) (70off) 6 Mamma Molitika 5 Paul Tito 4 Deiniol Jones (70off) 3 Tauf’ao Filise (63off) 2 Gareth Williams (60off) 1 Gethin Jenkins 16 Gary Powell (63on) 17 T Rhys Thomas (60on) 18 Scott Morgan (70on) 19 Ben White 970on) 20 Jason Spice 963on) 21 Dai Flanagan (710n) 22 Marc Stcherbina (50on) (710ff)

Cardiff Blues - Ulster
Martyn Williams x 1 R Caldwell x 1 G Thomas x 1 A Trimble x 1 D Jones x 1 Conversions
Ben Blair x 3 N O’Connor x 2 Penalties Ben Blair x 2 N O’Connor x 1 Dai Flanagan x 1