Cardiff Blues 15 Ulster 37
Sunday 21 November, Cardiff City Stadium
The Blues made their intentions clear from the start looking to throw the ball wide and a superbly timed pass by Sweeny put Czekaj in space to break down the right into Ulster twenty two, before the Blues were penalised. Minutes later Tom James made a superb break, throwing dummies and gaining good ground, proving to be equally dangerous on the left, with Laulala showing slick hands and threatening in the centre.
It didn’t take long for the score. Laulala chipped ahead, which was kicked back into his hands. The Kiwi again showed his pace to break through the midfield and step off his left to beat the Fullback to touch down under the posts. Sweeney converted.
Ulster soon fought back, and were themselves looking to pass the ball wide, some slack tackling allowed them all the way into the Blues twenty two, before they spread the ball left for Gilroy to score. Humphreys then slotted a penalty after the Blues had collapsed a scrum to give the Ulstermen the lead for the first time in the match.
The Blues looked set to score a certain try after Sweeney broke in midfield. The ball went out to Laulala and Czekaj, who timed his pass to James, but the last defender D’Arcy knocked the ball on preventing the try. He was sent to the bin for his efforts. Moments late Slater took a quick penalty and put Czekaj in space, the big Fullback stayed up well, and from the pass inside Chris Henry looked to have put in a deliberate knock on, but this time there was no yellow card.
However, Sweeney converted the goal and the next try came soon after. Czekaj did superbly to break up the right and chip ahead, with Paterson putting excellent pressure on the defence. The Blues turned the ball over and spread it wide through Sweeney and Laulala allowing Tom James to score in the corner.
Half time Cardiff Blues 15 Ulster 8
The second half started well with the Blues attacking and there was another opportunity on the left with Paterson breaking. However, he failed to release Tom James when he only had the winger to beat.
James had a golden opportunity to further the Blues lead when he broke from the base of a ruck and sprinted for the try-line. He threw a dummy to beat one man and perhaps should have passed earlier, but as he looked to round the fullback and pass out to Paterson the ball went astray and Ulster gathered only yards from the try-line.
Humphreys slotted another penalty to narrow the deficit and despite the Bleus effort they weren’t putting the game to bed and worse was to follow.
Ulster took the lead with a superb effort. They took a quick lineout in their own twenty two and Humphreys ran the ball out into the Blues half and chipped ahead. Gilroy gathered, and stepped inside Czekaj and had the pace to leave Hewitt and touch down under the posts. Humphreys slotted the easy conversion.
To rub salt in the Blues wounds they scored again from the restart. They broke down the left and Marshall fed Danielli who put D’Arcy in space to touch down for Ulster’s third. Humphreys missed another penalty goal but with ten minutes left the Blues were still 8 points behind.
Ulster scored another following a turnover just inside the Blues half. Substitute Willie Faloon emerged from a ruck with the ball and ran in unopposed to score their fourth try that looked to have sealed the win.
There was still enough time for another try however it was from Ulster. Substitute Paddy Wallace gathered a grubber kick and ran in for Ulster’s fifth of the afternoon. Humphreys converted to give them a 37 – 15 point win in what was a depressing weekend for Welsh rugby.
Tries Laulala x 1 James x 1
Pen Sweeney x 1
Con Sweeney x 1
Tries Gilroy x 2 D’Arcy x 1 Faloon x 1 Wallace x1
Pen Humphreys x 2
Con Humphreys x 3
Cardiff Blues 15 Chris Czekaj 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Casey Laulala 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Tom Slater
8 Xavier Rush (30off) 7 Maama Molitika 6 Michael Paterson 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 James Down (20off) 3 Scott Andrews 2 T Rhys Thomas (70off) 1 Taufa’ao Filise
16 Gareth Williams (70on) 17 Tom Davies 18 Sam Hobbs 19 Bryn Griffiths (20on) 20 Ben White (30on) 21 Dan Fish 22 Gareth Davies 23 Gavin Evans
15 Adam D’Arcy 14 Craig Gilroy 13 Nevin Spence 12 Ian Whitten 11 Simon Danielli 10 Ian Humphreys 9 Paul Marshall
8 Robbie Diack 7 Chris Henry 6 Pedrie Wannenburg 5 Dan Tuohy 4 Johann Muller (C) 3 BJ Botha 2 Nigel Brady 1 Paddy McAllister
16 Andi Kyriacou 17 Bryan Young 18 Jerry Cronin 19 Tim Barker 20 Willie Faloon 21 Ian Porter 22 Paddy Wallace 23 Andrew Trimble
Yellow Card: D’Arcy
Referee: George Clancy