Cardiff Blues 19 - 9 Ulster
Fri 26 March 19:05 Cardiff City Stadium Att: 7,532 Ref: Neil Paterson Celtic League

Cardiff Blues 19 Ulster 9

Fri 26 Mar 2010 21:05 Cardiff Blues 19  Ulster  9
The opening minutes of the match saw both teams looking to gain ground without much ball in hand, however a typically strong break from Casey Laulala saw the Blues break into the Ulster twenty two. They were awarded a penalty for hands in the ruck and Blair converted to record the first points of the match.

The Blues lifted the tempo following the restart, with the forwards gaining momentum and the backs looking to spread the ball. However, again Ulster halted the move illegally but this time Blair was wide with his attempt.

Niall O’Connor levelled the scores with his attempt five minutes later.
Paul Tito was then harshly penalised for not rolling away after he’d made a solid tackle, but Ulster failed to capitalise with O’Connor wide with his attempt.

With 30 minutes played the game still hadn’t come to life apart from a spark or two from Ben Blair, cutting some lovely angles and stepping past the Ulster defence. Paul Tito was always in support and when Rhys Thomas cut through the midfield the big Kiwi second rower put in a pass to Martyn Williams who was just held short of the line.

Ulster’s defence was proving to be very stubborn and hard to break down but Blair slotted two further penalties just before half time to regain the lead for the Blues.

Half time Cardiff Blues 9 Ulster 3

The Blues started the second half strongly with Richie Rees his usual lively self and Martyn Williams and Filise finding gaps in the Ulster defence at last.

Ulster were starting to pick up the pace also and were awarded a penalty on the halfway line for not rolling away and O’Connor struck the long distance effort well to narrow the deficit. However, the Ulstermen were dealt a blow when Ryan Caldwell was shown a yellow card for hands in the ruck but Blair failed with the long range effort. He was unlucky minutes later when a similar effort hit the upright.

The Blues were carrying on playing patiently looking for the gaps and when Halfpenny broke through, Darren Cave had to resort to tripping him and was shown a yellow for his troubles. The Blues kicked for the corner and looked to capitalise. Molitika, who had come on for Powell, gathered cleanly and powered his way over with Blair adding the extras to put some daylight between the Blues and the Ulstermen.

The Tongan nearly got his second moments later when Tom James took the ball up field and Sweeny did well to draw his man and put Molitika in. However Paul Marshall did superbly to hang on to his boot and stop him short.

O’Connor however was keeping Ulster in the game with another long range penalty but Blair kept the 10 point gap with a further penalty to secure the win and make sure that Ulster left with nothing.

Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair 14 Leigh Halfpenny 13 Casey Laulala 12 Tom Shanklin 30off 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Richie Rees

8 Xavier Rush 7 Martyn Williams 6 Andy Powell 60off 5 Paul Tito 50off55on 4 Scott Morgan 56off 3 Taufa’au Filise 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 Gethin Jenkins

16 Rhys Williams 17 Scott Andrews 18 Andries Pretorius 50on 56on 19 Maama Molitika 60on 20 Gareth Cooper 21 Dai Flanagan 22 Dafydd Hewitt 30on

Ulster 15 Jamie Smith 14 Andrew Trimble 13 Darren Cave 12 Paddy Wallace 11 Simon Danielli 10 Niall O’Connor 9 Paul Marshall

8 Chris Henry (c) 7 David Pollock 6 Stephen Ferris 5 Ryan Caldwell 4 Dan Tuohy 3 Brendan Botha 2 Rory Best 1 Tom Court

16 Nigel Brady 17 Declan Fitzpatrick 18 Ed O'Donoghue 19 Robbie Diack 20 Michael Heaney 21 Ian Humphreys 22 Timoci Nagusa

Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU)
Yellow Card:

Cardiff Blues

Try Molitika x 1
Con Blair x 1
Penalty Blair x 4


Penalty O’Connor x 4