Planet Rugby

Ulster ease past Cardiff

16th September 2011 20:57

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Darren Cave ulster 2

Two tries: Darren Cave

Darren Cave scored two tries as Ulster ran out 20-3 winners over Cardiff Blues in Friday's Pro12 clash at Ravenhill.

Ulster extended their winning run at Ravenhill in 2011 to nine matches after easing to victory against the league leaders.

Cave slid in for two first-half tries before leaving the field injured as Ulster dominated territory and possession, with the disappointing Blues making just one foray into the opposition 22 before the break.

Ulster coped better with the difficult conditions from the off and they could have been further in front than the 17-0 lead they enjoyed at half-time had Ian Humphreys not missed three kicks at goal.

Playing with the benefit of the wind, Ulster's backs made light of the wet ball and contrived to score the first try of the evening approaching the half-hour mark when Cave latched on to a pass from the lively Craig Gilroy.

Ulster's second try was not long in the offing, Cave combining with midfield partner Nevin Spence to finish off a neatly worked move.

The rain stopped for the second half and the wind also eased slightly, nevertheless the Blues supplied the early pressure after the re-start but were unable to breach Ulster's squeeze defence.

Poor ball retention and a high turnover rate blighted the Blues' attempts to get any continuity in attack.

But, shortly after Thomas Young, the son of former Blues boss Dai Young, had come onto the pitch as a replacement for veteran flanker Martyn Williams, the Blues got their first (and only) points on the board through a Ceri Sweeney penalty on 66 minutes.

Late pressure from Ulster nearly resulted in a try on debut for Kiwi full-back, Jared Payne, however the final points came from the boot of Paddy Jackson, a second half replacement at fly-half for Humphreys who suffered a serious-looking shoulder injury following a late hit from Ma'ama Molitika.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Cave 2
Cons: Humphreys 2
Pens: Humphreys, Jackson

For Cardiff:
Pens: Sweeney

Yellow cards: Rush (Cardiff -54th min)

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Nevin Spence, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Jerry Cronin, 2 Andy Kyriacou, 1 Declan Fitzpatrick.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Adam D'Arcy

Cardiff: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 James Monck, 19 James Down, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Dafydd Hewitt

Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: James Jones (WRU)
Assistant Referees: John Carvill, David Keane (both IRFU)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (IRFU)

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