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
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs Castres20:45
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs Griquas19:10
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour vs Southland19:35
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs Canterbury18:05
Hawkes Bay vs Taranaki20:05
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs 33 - 32 CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00