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Tuohy injury casts shadow over 'magnificent' Ulster win

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Ulster's Dan Tuohy goes over to score his side's first try

Ulster's Dan Tuohy goes over to score his side's first try

SPORTSFILE

Chris Henry, Ulster, in action against Gareth Davies, Cardiff Blues

Chris Henry, Ulster, in action against Gareth Davies, Cardiff Blues

SPORTSFILE

Dan Tuohy, Ulster, on his way to scoring his side's first try

Dan Tuohy, Ulster, on his way to scoring his side's first try

SPORTSFILE

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Ulster's Dan Tuohy goes over to score his side's first try

Ulster lock Dan Tuohy is facing a length lay-off after sustaining a suspected fracture to his forearm in last night's win over Cardiff Blues.

The 29-year-old Irish international had not just extended his amazing run of scoring in each of his side's Guinness Pro12 games this season when he left the field in holding his right wrist.

Ulster defence coach Jonny Bell confirmed that Tuohy would be going to hospital for X-Rays and that the early fears were he would be out for some time.

"Dan has been immense for us so far this season and has become our top try scorer. The injury is in the same arm in which he had a plate inserted following a previous injury and it doesn't look good," explained Bell.

"We don't want to pre-empt what might happen, but it looks as though he has broken it again. It will be a huge blow for us if we do lose Dan, but the way the side played in beating a very competitive Cardiff Blues side we are moving in the right direction. They really took it to us and threw their big ball carriers at us, but the defence was magnificent.

"The game was won by our forwards. The set-pieces were rock solid and our driving lineout worked a treat."

Tuohy's injury aside, it was an encouraging night for Ulster. On the Blues' super-fast plastic pitch, it was fast, furious and frantic from the kick-off. The ball stayed in hand, the tackles came thundering in and the first half was all about which side made fewer mistakes.

The Blues blinked once more often, coughing up a silly penalty on the stroke of half-time to give the returning Paddy Jackson the chance to make it four out of four with his goal-kicks to end one ahead of Rhys Patchell.

It was evenly matched, but Ulster did have the upper hand at the line-out. Franco van der Merwe set up two driving mauls from perfect takes at the front of the line that ended up with the pack making huge gains, the latter leading to the fourth penalty of the half for Jackson that edged his side ahead.

The silly errors that had led to the majority of the first-half scores continued at the start of the second when Darren Cave conceded a kick on half-way that led to Patchell missing for the first time.

The introduction of Callum Black to oppose the mighty Wales and Lions tighthead Adam Jones at the start of the second half then paid dividends with a scrum penalty 45 metres out, but this time Jackson failed to hit the target.

It didn't matter, however, because the clearing kick from the Blues was so short that Ulster had a line-out on the home 22 from which they launched a trademark drive.

The Blues pulled it down, Jackson kicked to the corner and four phases later, Paul Marshall popped up a pass for Tuohy to run through a giant hole and reach the posts. Jackson easily added the extras and suddenly what had been a game balanced on a knife-edge 12 minutes earlier was now showing a 10-point advantage for the Ulstermen.

The Blues had their chances to cut the gap, but the white wall in front of them did their job to keep them at bay before Ian Humphreys nipped in to steal an interception try which he then converted to kill off Cardiff five minutes from time and send the visitors home with a feeling of a job well done, satisfaction tempered by Tuohy's injury.

CARDIFF BLUES - R Patchell (G Walsh 78) A Cuthbert, A Thomas (C Allen 68), G Evans, R Smith; G Davies, L Jones (L Williams 55); S Hobbs (S Andrews 57), M Rees (captain, R Williams 63), A Jones (T Filise 52), J Hoeata (M Cook 66), F Paulo, J Turnbull, J Navidi, M Vosawai (E Jenkins 57)

ULSTER - L Ludik; A Trimble, D Cave (C Gilroy 57), S Olding, T Bowe; P Jackson (I Humphreys 57), P Marshall; A Warwick (C Black 41, A Warwick 65-67), R Best (captain, R Herring 76), W Herbst, D Tuohy (N McComb 61), F van der Merwe, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams (R Wilson 57) REF - N Paterson (SRU)

Irish Independent