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Cave's double fires Ulster into pole position

Two tries by Darren Cave helped Ulster to charge to the top of the Pro12 table with a deserved victory over previous leaders Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill last night.

Ian Humphreys kicked two conversions and a penalty, and replacement Paddy Jackson added a penalty.

Out-half Humphreys rattled over a close-range penalty to open the scoring in the fourth minute before Ulster's territorial advantage told in the 32nd minute, Cave diving over and Humphreys adding the conversion.

Two minutes later Ulster had their second try with an even better effort from Cave after he backed up a well-worked move and a superb break by Ian Whitten. Humphreys again added the extras for a 17-0 half-time advantage.

Despite much huffing and puffing, Cardiff's only response was a Ceri Sweeney penalty with 10 minutes remaining before a late tackle on Humphreys by Casey Laulala saw the Ulster out-half replaced by Jackson, who ended the scoring with a penalty.

Ulster -- J Payne; C Gilroy: D Cave (A D'Arcy 40), N Spence, I Whitten; I Humphreys (P Jackson, 74), P Marshall (I Porter 68); D Fitzpatrick (P McAllister 53), A Kyriacou (N Brady 65), J Cronin (A Macklin 80), L Stevenson, D Tuohy (N McComb 80), P Wannenburg, C Henry, R Diack (M McComish 65).

Cardiff Blues -- C Czeka; T James; C Lualala, G Evans (D Hewitt 40), A Cuthbert; C Sweeney, L Jones (R Rees 46); S Hobbs, T Rhys Thomas (N Trevett 67), S Andrews, M Patterson, P Tito, capt (J Down 67), M Molitika, M Williams (T Young 68), X Rush.

REF -- J Jones (WRU).

Irish Independent