Ulster's PRO14 play-off hopes look dead in the water after heavy Cardiff defeat
Ulster’s slim play-off hopes are now dead and buried after they were comfortably beaten 35-17 by the Cardiff Blues.
Tries from out half Jarrod Evans, Blaine Scully, Kristian Dacey and Dillon Lewis was enough to see of Ulster.
Jono Gibbes’ side could only manage 12 points from the boot of John Cooney and a try from David Shanahan.
Ulster endured a nightmare start when Cardiff out half Evans crossed for the games first try after a mere two minutes of play after a stunning break from Matthew Morgan.
But the visitors hit back soon after with scrum half John 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.
Wian Herbst made life a lot harder than it needed to be for the visitors when he cleared out Cardiff out-half Evans with his shoulder. After a few minutes watching the replays referee Andrew McMenemy opted to sent the South African tight-head prop to the sin bin.
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 turned around 16-6 behind at the break.
Gibbes’ side began the second half strongly with two Cooney penalties putting them within five points.
But any hope they had went up in flames when Wales hooker Dacey smashed his way over after a series of sustained pressure from the hosts.
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.
The Blues rubbed salt into Ulster’s wound when replacement prop Lewis dotted down after a break from Evans.
Cardiff Blues: Morgan; Scully, Lee-Lo (G Smith 64), Halaholo (S Shingler 76), Lane; Evans (Shingler HIA 31-39), T Williams (L Williams 73); Jenkins (R Gill 65), Rees (K Dacey 11), Andrews (D Lewis 60), Earle, Davies, Turnbull (M Cook 64), Jenkins, N Williams (B Murphy 73).
Replacements: Dacey, Gill, Lewis, Murphy, Cook, L Williams, Shingler, Smith.
Ulster: Piutau; Gilroy, Marshall (L Ludik (62), McCloskey (P Nelson 73), Stockdale; McPhillips, Cooney (D Shanahan 73); Warwick (C Black 71), Herring (J Andrew 60), Herbst (R Kane 60), O’Connor, Treadwell (M Dalton 65), Henderson, Ross (Kane temps 31-39), Timoney.
Replacements: Andrew, Black, Kane, Dalton, Rea, Shanahan, Nelson Ludik.
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)