Planet Rugby

Blues grab vital victory

26th March 2010 21:02

Share:

Maam Molitika Cardiff Blues

Maama Molitika: Tryscorer

Cardiff Blues took a critical step towards Heineken Cup rugby next season with a 19-9 win over Ulster in Cardiff on Friday.

It was the Irish province's indiscipline, however, which cost them dearly in a dour encounter, the game's only try coming when they were reduced to 13 men.

For New Zealander Xavier Rush, it at least meant victory in his 100th appearance for the Blues before he joins Ulster for next season.

The first half was a mish-mash of aimless kicking and handling errors.

Blues full-back Ben Blair and Ulster fly-half Niall O'Connor exchanged early penalties - each missed one as well - but there was precious little excitement for the disappointing crowd.

Ulster's strength at scrum and breakdown gave them most of the territory, while Blues centres Casey Laulala and Tom Shanklin produced the only real breaks, before Wales international Shanklin suffered a knock after half an hour and was forced to leave the field.

The Blues were rewarded for their greater ambition when Blair kicked two more penalties just before the break.

There was some more urgency about the home side's play on the restart, with prop Taufa'ao Filise leading the way, but it was Ulster who claimed the first points in the second period when O'Connor kicked a mighty penalty from halfway.

Blues wing Leigh Halfpenny was short with an attempt from even further as the boot continued to dominate, and Blair missed another after Ulster saw lock Ryan Caldwell dispatched to the sin-bin for handling in the ruck.

Blair struck a post from long range before Ulster had a second player yellow-carded, centre Darren Cave going for a blatant trip in midfield.

The visitors were doubly punished, Blair sending the resultant penalty to the corner and replacement flanker Maama Molitika crashing over from the line-out. Blair converted.

Molitika was held up just short as the Blues tried to capitalise on their two extra men, but it was Ulster who scored next with another long-range kick from O'Connor.

Blair kicked his fourth penalty just as Ulster were returned to full strength, and the game stuttered to its conclusion.

The scorers:

For the Blues:
Try: Molitika
Con: Blair
Pens: Blair 4

For Ulster:
Pens: O'Connor 3

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Tom Shanklin, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Andy Powell, 5 Paul Tito, 4 Scott Morgan, 3 Taufa'au Filise, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Scott Andrews, 18 Andries Pretorius, 19 Maama Molitika, 20 Gareth Cooper, 21 Sam Norton-Knight/Dai Flanagan, 22 Dafydd Hewitt.

Ulster: 15 Jamie Smith, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Chris Henry (capt), 7 David Pollock, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Brendan Botha, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Michael Heaney, 21 Ian Humphreys, 22 Timoci Nagusa.

Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Jon Mason (WRU), Simon Harris (WRU)
TMO: Neil Ballard (WRU)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615