Monday 16 July 2018

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Blues burst Ulster hopes of play-offs

Cardiff 35 Ulster 17

Jacob Stockdale of Ulster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 18 match between Cardiff Blues and Ulster at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile
Jacob Stockdale of Ulster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 18 match between Cardiff Blues and Ulster at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile

independent.ie Sportsdesk

Ulster's slim play-off hopes are dead and buried after they were comfortably beaten by the Cardiff Blues.

Tries from out-half Jarrod Evans, Blaine Scully, Kristian Dacey and Dillon Lewis were enough to see off Ulster as Jono Gibbes's side could only manage 12 points from the boot of John Cooney and a try from David Shanahan at Cardiff Arms Park.

Craig Gilroy of Ulster is tackled by Josh Turnbull and Jarrod Evans of Cardiff Blues. Photo: Sportsfile
Craig Gilroy of Ulster is tackled by Josh Turnbull and Jarrod Evans of Cardiff Blues. Photo: Sportsfile

Ulster endured a nightmare start when Evans crossed for the game's first try after a mere two minutes of play, following a stunning break from Matthew Morgan. But the visitors hit back soon after with scrum-half Cooney knocking over a penalty from 30 metres out.

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

Wiehahn Herbst made life a lot harder than it needed to be for the visitors when he cleared out Evans with his shoulder. After a few minutes watching the replays referee Mike Adamson opted to sent the South African tighthead prop to the sin-bin.

However, Ulster managed to win a penalty from the ensuing scrum, with Cooney knocking the ball over the posts. But the Blues enjoyed the last laugh of the half with Evans knocking over his own penalty, meaning Ulster were 17-6 behind at the break.

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

Gibbes's side began the second half strongly with two Cooney penalties putting them back within five points.

But any hope they had of reeling in their hosts went up in flames when Wales hooker Dacey smashed his way over after a spell of sustained Cardiff pressure.

By now Ulster's confidence was shot as they allowed the Blues a large amount of territory and possession, which led to Evans sealing the win with two penalties.

Shanahan grabbed a consolation try when he beat two Cardiff defenders on the outside to touch down. But the Blues rubbed salt into Ulster's wounds when replacement prop Lewis dotted down after a break from Evans.

Scorers - Cardiff Blues: J Evans try, B Scully try, K Dacey try, D Lewis try, J Evans 3 cons, 3 pens. Ulster: D Shanahan try, J Cooney 4 pens.

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.

Referee: M Adamson (Scotland)

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