Ulster end awful away run
November 21, 2010
Ian Humphreys landed two penalties and three conversions in Ulster's win
© Getty Images
Ulster scored 15 points in a four-minute spell midway through the second half to end a run of seven straight defeats at the hands of Cardiff Blues with a 37-15 victory.
The home side led 15-8 at half-time but disintegrated in a second period in which they rarely crossed the halfway line. Ulster, dominant up front throughout, began to string a few passes together to claim their first Magners League win on the road since September.
In the early stages the Blues had displayed a refreshing willingness to throw the ball around, a fine miss pass by Ceri Sweeney sent fullback Chris Czekaj away and left-wing Tom James collected a loose kick to race 60 yards before being brought down just short of the line.
A home try duly arrived when Kiwi centre Casey Laulala picked up a charged-down Ulster clearance before skipping past two defenders to the line. Sweeney converted. Ulster hit back, making ground down the left before spreading it right for wing Craig Gilroy to cross with a spare man outside him.
A long-range penalty from Ian Humphreys put Ulster ahead and the Blues also lost influential No.8 Xavier Rush - who changed his mind about a summer move to Ravenhill - through injury.
A deliberate knock-on to prevent Czekaj delivering a try-scoring pass to Tom James brought a yellow card for Ulster fullback Adam D'Arcy, and while he was absent James claimed his deserved touchdown after hooker Rhys Thomas and flanker Michael Paterson had been held up on the line.
Sweeney slotted a penalty after visiting flanker Chris Henry was also guilty of a deliberate knock-on and Ulster suffered a further blow when South African Muller was knocked out and had to retire to the stand.
But everything changed in the second half as the visitors brought on the cavalry in the shape of international centres Andrew Trimble and Paddy Wallace and, with D'Arcy restored to the action, they began to look more dangerous.
Humphreys narrowed the gap with a penalty and then dinked a kick ahead which the lively Gilroy retrieved before slicing past two defenders to the posts. D'Arcy powered down the left to cross for another score straight after the resumption and the game had a totally different look.
Substitute Willie Faloon galloped 30 yards to clinch a bonus point with the Blues' defence in disarray, and when Gareth Williams inexplicably tried a grubber kick that failed to breach the Ulster line, Wallace had a free run to score.
Humphreys' third conversion hammered in the final nail.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards Rewinds to 1975 when three Welsh legends were handed their debuts and assesses their legacy
Seven places in the Champions Cup quarter-finals are up for grabs; we break down the permutations for each group in the final round of matches
"Easter must show he is built in the Lancaster blueprint despite having not featured on the England radar until now," writes Tom Hamilton
Monday Maul reflects on a stark setback against Saracens for Munster and ponders what it all means for the Irish provinces in the Champions Cup