Ulster lose again despite return of Grand Slam stars

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 25, 2018

Jarrod Evans was the star of the show as the Cardiff Blues defeated Ulster 35-17 at the Cardiff Arms Park.

The win virtually secured the Welsh region a place in next season's European Champions Cup competition but they still remain five points behind the Cheetahs in Conference A with three games remaining as the two sides battle it out for a play-off spot.

Blaine Sully went over for a try for the Blues on 12 minutes, converted by Evans and although the Welsh side had a numerical advantage after Ulster prop Wiehahn Herbst was yellow carded for a risky tackle, it was the visitors who got the next points - another penalty from Cooney. Ulster could only manage a late consolation try from replacement scrum half David Shanahan and four penalties from the boot of John Cooney.

Ulster endured a nightmare start when Cardiff outhalf Evans crossing for the game's first try after just two minutes. The hosts attacked down the right- hand side and after a good offload by full back Matthew Morgan to Willis Halaholo almost sent the centre over the line but he got brought down just short. The ball was then recycled for Evans to touch down under the posts.

The outside half converted before Cooney put Ulster on the scoreboard with a penalty from 45 metres. Lively fullback Morgan made a sniping break before the ball was recycled for US Eagles worldwide Scully to cross in the corner for their second try.

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.

But upon studying the television replays there was conclusive evidence that Evans' original pass to Halaholo had gone forward. 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. The visitors began the second half brightly and scrum half Cooney again closed the deficit with another penalty cutting the Blues lead to 17-9 after 46 minutes.

Ulster are also feeling the pressure as fifth place Benetton Rugby picked up a bonus point win in a 36-35 away win at Southern Kings earlier in the afternoon.

Two tries conceded in the opening quarter of an hour visibly shook Jono Gibbes' men, so much so that a kickable penalty in the 22nd minute went to the corner instead, but a turnover from the excellent Jenkins ensured Cardiff emerged unscathed.

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, Halaholo, Lane; Evans, T Williams; Jenkins, Rees, Andrews; Earle, Davies; Turnbull, Jenkins, N Williams.

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