Thursday 20 September 2018

Gibbes can take 'nothing positive' from dismal display

Cardiff 35 Ulster 17

Ulster Head Coach Jono Gibbes. Photo: Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
Ulster Head Coach Jono Gibbes. Photo: Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

Independent.ie newsdesk

Jono Gibbes slammed the performance of his players as Ulster were thumped by Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park, which all but ends their Guinness PRO14 play-off hopes.

Tries from out-half Jarrod Evans, Blaine Scully, Kristian Dacey and Dillon Lewis were enough to see off Ulster, who are fourth and 13 points behind Edinburgh in Conference B.

All Gibbes' side could manage was 12 points from the boot of John Cooney and a consolation try from David Shanahan.

"There's nothing in that performance that we want to be associated with," said Gibbes.

"There's nothing that we aspire to be in that performance and there was nothing positive in that game.

"It's not good enough and doesn't reflect what we are trying to do and what we put pride in. We've got to have a look at ourselves, including the coaches.

Charles Piutau of Ulster passes Willis Halaholo of Cardiff Blues. Photo: Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
Charles Piutau of Ulster passes Willis Halaholo of Cardiff Blues. Photo: Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

"I'm not sure they played particularly well either. They set the tone and we played the role of a team trying to contain them. That was established within five minutes and that was really disappointing. That's not what our preparation looked like.

"Our performance felt a lot worse than that scoreboard suggested. We've got to come up with an idea about what's going to transfer from the training field on to the pitch."

The visitors would have been hoping to challenge for silverware this season, but instead are fighting for their Champions Cup future.

Ulster endured a nightmare start when Cardiff out-half Evans crossed for the game's first try after a mere two minutes of play, after a stunning break from Matthew Morgan.

Nick Timoney of Ulster offloads under pressure from Seb Davies of Cardiff Blues. Photo: Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
Nick Timoney of Ulster offloads under pressure from Seb Davies of Cardiff Blues. Photo: Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

However, the visitors hit back soon after with scrum-half Cooney knocking over a penalty from 30 metres out.

Lively full-back Morgan made a half-break before the ball was offloaded for US Eagles international Scully to touch down.

Wiehahn Herbst made life a lot harder for the visitors when he cleared out Cardiff out-half Evans with his shoulder and was subsequently sent to the sin-bin.

Ulster managed to win a penalty from the ensuing scrum with Cooney knocking the ball over, but Evans slotted over a penalty to leave Ulster 16-6 behind at the break.

Gibbes' side began the second half strongly with two Cooney penalties, but any hope they had went up in flames when Wales hooker Dacey smashed his way over after a period of sustained pressure from the hosts.

Shanahan grabbed a consolation try when he beat two Cardiff defenders on the outside to touch down, but the Blues put the result out of Ulster's reach when replacement prop Lewis dotted down after a break from Evans.

Cardiff Blues - M Morgan; B Scully, R Lee-Lo (G Smith 64), W Halaholo (S Shingler 76), O Lane; J Evans (S Shingler HIA 31-39), T Williams (L Williams 73); G Jenkins (R Gill 65), M Rees (K Dacey 11), S Andrews (D Lewis 60); G Earle, S Davies; J Turnbull (M Cook 64), E Jenkins, N Williams (B Murphy 73).

Ulster - C Piutau; C Gilroy, L Marshall (L Ludik 62), S McCloskey (P Nelson 73), J Stockdale; J McPhillips, J Cooney (Shanahan 73); A Warwick (C Black 71), R Herring (J Andrew 60), W Herbst (R Kane 60); A O'Connor, K Treadwell (M Dalton 65); I Henderson, C Ross (R Kane temp 31-39), N Timoney.

REF - M Adamson (Scotland).

Irish Independent

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