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Blues Lose at Ravenhill

5th May 2006

Ulster 26 Cardiff Blues 17 Cardiff Blues knew it would be a huge challenge to come away from Belfast with win that would lift them to second place in the Celtic League.

A crowd of 9,617 turned up to watch the nine a clock kick off match. The Blues got off to a good start with Nick Macleod kicked a penalty from 40 yards out. The wind was swirling all around the Ravenhill ground but this didn’t seem to effect the young full back as he kicked a further two penalties after Ulster had drifted offside and infringed in a ruck. However it was Ulster who scored the first try of the match after a clearance kick was charged down and the referee deemed that Nicky Robinson has obstructed the Ulster player from chasing the ball that had been hacked over the tryline. He awarded a penalty try and to rub salt in the wound Robinson was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes. Moments later Macleod broke superbly and was well supported by Jamie Robinson, however the move broke down and Ulster were awarded a penalty. The game started to heat up in the 20th minute when the Ulster players objected to a strong tackle by Maama Molitika and the game got even hotter following a crunching tackle by Xavier Rush. David Humphreys kicked a penalty to give Ulster the lead for the first time but this was soon cancelled out by Macleod who converted a penalty after Ulster held on to the ball in the ruck.

Half Time
Ulster 10 Cardiff Blues 12

Ulster soon regained the lead in the second half with a David Humphreys penalty but the break through for the Blues came from a line out on the half way line. The ball seemed to be lost in the front of the line but it emerged for Mike Phillips to pass to Robinson who broke passed Humphreys. Stcherbina then broke superbly through two players and the Australian drew his man and timed his pass perfectly to give Jamie Robinson a run in for the line. The try was converted by Macleod but Humphreys soon kicked a penalty for Ulster and the game was finely balanced at 16-17. The turning pint in the game was in the 54th minute when the referee decided to yellow card John Yapp following a mass brawl on the touchline much to the delight of the vocal home crowd. Humphreys kicked the penalty to give Ulster the lead and they soon made the most of their numerical advantage. Ulster were awarded a scrum on the Blues tryline and a clever break and pass by scrum half Isaac Boss saw number eight Roger Wilson cross for their second try of the game, converted by Humphries. Despite some excellent breaks by Nick Robinson and Nick Macleod the Blues failed to cross the tryline. Rhys Thomas came close minutes before the final whistle following a quick penalty by Phillips but it was Ulster who clung on to their lead and move to the top of the table.