Cardiff Blue 19 Ulster 48
Friday 28 September 7.05pm kick off
On an emotionally charged evening at Cardiff Arms Park, Ulster played their first game since the tragic death of Irishman, Nevin Spence. The game began with a respectfully observed minutes silence for the Spence family.
The Blues kicked off and gained an early lead from a penalty which saw Jason Tovey put three points on the board. A high kick, caught by Bradley Davies, saw the Blues on their way to the first try scoring opportunity of the game. Tom James neatly caught the pass, dodging the Ulster defence, to allow him to chip the ball ahead to Sam Warburton who aimed for the try line, but the TMO ruled no try due to a knock on. Moments later the Blues were awarded for their efforts with a second penalty, which Tovey kicked with ease.
What looked like a promising start for the Blues soon deteriorated under a strong Ulster attack. With the visitors in the twenty-two and the Blues defensive line holding Paul Marshall looked to recycle the ball, unfortunately for the Blues a knock on by Tovey saw them concede a penalty. Paddy Jackson slotted the points.
The restart saw Ulster strait back into the Blues’ twenty-two with a period of pressure arising from a quick penalty taken by Nick Williams who was held just short of the line. With the ball recycled it was left to Michael Allen to force his way across the try line to put the points on the board. Converted by Paddy Jackson.
With the Blues chasing the score for the first time in the game Tovey converted a penalty kick, closing the gap between the two sides with the score lying at 9-10 to Ulster.
Minutes later Tom James showed great pace to break through the Ulster defence once more but failed to capitalise on his play. After some issues in Blues’ scrum Ulster were awarded a penalty, which saw the visitors back in the Blues’ twenty-two.
The next Ulster attack came from Paul Marshall who made a break from the blindside. A strong defending tackle from Harry Robinson momentarily stop the attack but when the break finally came it was a quick pass by Paul Marshall to Nick Williams who crashed over the try line to push the score to 9-15 to Ulster. Paddy Jackson converted.
Towards the end of the second half the Blues’ had a big blow to their starting line-up when Jason Tovey was taken off with an injured leg after an awkward tackle.
Half time Cardiff Blues 9 v Ulster 17
The start of the second half saw a nice chip from Dan Fish over the top of the Ulstermen giving Tom James a chance to break through a formidable defensive line. However a knock forward by Ulster’s Darren Cave won the Blues a penalty closing the gap between the two teams.
On his returning match for the Irish side, right wing Tommy Bowe, scored the first try of the second half. Failing to maintain his 100% kicking record, Paddy Jackson drifted the ball wide, missing the conversion.
Ulster continued their strong attack, which led to another TMO call. The try was awarded to Jarred Payne, which pushed the Ulstermen further into the lead with a conversion.
Tommy Bowe added another try after gaining the ball from the Blues’ who up until this point had been charging for the Ulster twenty-two
Attacking the Ulster defence yards from the try line the Blues battled for 15 minutes to close the gap on the scoreboard. Finally the home side was rewarded when a long pass to the wing saw Harry Robinson drive the ball over the Ulster try line. Gareth Davies converted.
Unfortunately for the unrelenting Cardiff Blues side their efforts were not enough to make up for the storming Ulster attack. The Irish team played some sublime rugby moving from defence to attack with consummate ease. Despite the Blues making multiple replacements, looking for fresh legs, Ulster flourished in the final ten minutes with two tries, both converted making it impossible for the Blues to catch them and sealing the victory for the Ulstermen.
Tries: Robinson x 1
Con: G Davies x 1
Pen: Tovey x 3, G Davies x 1
Tries: Allen x1, Williams x 2, Bowe x 2, Trimble x 1
Con: P Jackson x 1
Pen: P Jackson x 1
Cardiff Blues 15. Dan Fish 14. Harry Robinson(70off) 13. Dafydd Hewitt 12. Jamie Roberts 11. Tom James 10. Jason Tovey(33off) 9. Lloyd Williams(70off)
8. Andries Pretorius (c) 7. Sam Warburton 6. Robin Copeland (53off) 5. James Down (47off) 4. Bradley Davies 3. Taufa’ao Filise (70off) 2. Andi Kyriacou (53off) 1. Nathan Trevett (470ff)
16. Rhys Williams (53on)17. Campese Ma’afu (47on)18. Scott Andrews(70on) 19. Lou Reed(47o) 20. Rory Watts-Jones (53on) 21. Rob Lewis(70on)22. Gareth Davies (33on) 23. Tom Williams(70on)
Ulster 15 Jared Payne 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Michael Allen 12 Darren Cave 11 Andrew Trimble 10 Paddy Jackson 9 Paul Marshall
1 Tom Court 2 Nigel Brady 3 John Afoa 4 Neil McComb 5 Dan Tuohy 6 Iain Henderson 7 Chris Henry (c) 8 Nick Williams
16 Rob Herring 17 Callum Black 18 Adam Macklin 19 Lewis Stevenson 20 Mike McComish 21 Michael Heaney 22 Paddy Wallace 23 Craig Gilroy