Planet Rugby

Five-try sweetness for Ulster

25th October 2013 20:53

Share:

Ulster lock Dan Tuohy scored twice at Ravenhill as the hosts ran in five tries to defeat Cardiff Blues 39-21.

A double from Tuohy, combined with tries by Jared Payne and Andrew Trimble, helped a clinical Ulster ascend the Pro12 table.

Cardiff Blues fought back with tries from Robin Copeland and Richard Smith, as well as the devastating boot of Leigh Halfpenny. The visitors were never less than competitive in an absorbing contest but Ulster, who led for most of the game, were worthy winners.

It was Ulster that made the more adventurous start, taking the Blues through several phases early on. It was a busy start to the game for the home side, but a knock-on two minutes in undid their hard work.

The Ravenhill men's scrummaging prowess was evident, with late call-up John Afoa particularly impressive.

One such shove earned a penalty on eight minutes, which Paddy Jackson successfully slotted. Lions' full-back Halfpenny restored parity three minutes later when he kicked a penalty though from close range.

The game ignited from an Ulster perspective on 17 minutes when some lovely handling involving Olding, Marshall, and Diack to unleash Tuohy in the corner. Jackson missed the resultant conversion to leave the score at 8-3.

The Welsh region responded with hard running and aggression, but the home defence was quite impressive.

Things got even better for the Irish side on 24 minutes when Jared Payne touched down after Jackson bravely spurned a gilt-edged three points and elected to run a penalty from five metres out. The Irish international once again missed the extras, however.

The Belfast outfit were now 13-3 in credit. Jackson redeemed himself on 28 minutes when he kicked another penalty following destructive work by the Ulster scrum. But Cardiff cleverly manoeuvred their way into the game, with fly-half Rhys Patchell orchestrating superbly.

The Welsh club's prospects were enhanced further on 34 minutes when number eight Copeland finished off some neat passing - Halfpenny uncharacteristically missing the conversion to make it 16-8.

The Lion stars made no mistake a fewminutes later however, when he reduced the gap to only five points. By half time, the visitors were certainly regaining their foothold in the match.

Ulster upped the tempo at the beginning of the second period, and the increased intensity paid dividends on 42 minutes when Marshall scored following an incisive jink by Olding. Jackson though neglected to add the extra points.

Copeland conceded another penalty three minutes later when he illegally prevented the release of the football - the big number eight yellow carded for his intervention. This time Jackson punished the Welshmen to make it 24-11.

The Blues responded resolutely, with Lions' skipper Sam Warburton leading the charge, and it was the Welsh club that struck next when wing Richard Smith dived over on 51 minutes. Halfpenny converted to leave the Blues only trailing by six points with Cardiff's increased physicality was beginning to grind the hosts down in this segment of the game.

But the unerringly accurate Pienaar settled Ulster's nerves on 55 minutes when he landed a sublime penalty from close to the half way line. Halfpenny responded as the match descended into a battle of place kickers, and Pienaar missed two difficult chances to augment his side's lead.

Andrew Trimble, excluded from the Ireland squad this week, managed to put some daylight between the teams when he finished a nice move on 67 minutes to earn Ulster a nine-point advantage as at last the forward supremacy of the home side began to tell and gaps began to emerge in the Blues' hitherto concrete defence.

Tuohy completed an unlikely brace on 80 minutes when he barged over in the corner.

The score may have flattered the hosts, but this was a decent victory nonetheless. The Welsh kingpins will be disappointed by their failure to follow up last week's heroics against mighty Toulon. For Ulster, this gritty home win, achieved through old-fashioned forward power and precision, keeps their title ambitions on track.

The scorers:

For Ulster:
Tries: Tuohy 2, Payne, L.Marshall, Trimble
Con: Pienaar
Pens: Jackson 3, Pienaar

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Copeland, Smith
Con: Halfpenny
Pens: Halfpenny 3
Yellow Card: Copeland

Ulster: 15 Stuart Olding, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Tom Court, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Darren Cave, 23 Michael Allen

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Chris Czekaj

Referee: Giuseppe Vivarin (FIR)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway, Eanna O'Dowd (both IRFU)
TMO: Peter Ferguson (IRFU)

by Rory McGimpsey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00