Dan the star for Cardiff Blues
February 17, 2012
Dan Parks kicked 16 points for Cardiff
© Getty Images
Cardiff Blues leaped above Ulster in the RaboDirect PRO12 standings after victory over the Irish Province on Friday night.
Dan Parks was the hero as Cardiff Blues continued their winning return to the Arms Park with a 21-14 RaoDirect PRO12 victory over Ulster.
Playing his first game since retiring from international rugby, former Scotland fly-half Parks scored 16 points, including a try, with winger Tom James claiming the hosts' other touchdown as they came from 11-6 down at the break.
This was the second successive game the Blues had moved from the Cardiff City Stadium to their old home at the Arms Park and last week's 8,000 attendance for the defeat of Connacht was followed by an estimated 9,000 capacity crowd turning up for the visit of the Ulstermen.
There is no decision yet on where they will play their three remaining home games this season, against the Scarlets, the Ospreys and Edinburgh. Following a lengthy board meeting ahead of Friday's game, it was revealed further discussions will take place on the much-debated subject.
With the strong wind at their backs, it was Ulster who held sway in the opening quarter, taking the lead through a penalty from Ruan Pienaar and going further ahead on 18 minutes with a try from No.8 Robbie Diack. That score stemmed from an overthrow at the lineout by the Blues which saw the ball go loose and elude winger James, enabling Diack to hack ahead and win the race to touch down ahead of Lloyd Williams. Pienaar was wide with his conversion attempt, whereas Parks made no mistake with a penalty to open the account for the hosts.
Springbok scrum-half Pienaar and Parks swapped kicks in the closing stages of the half, with Park slotting a superb touchline penalty to make it 11-6 to the visitors at the break. With the elements now in their favour, the Blues made the perfect start to the second period, with Parks levelling the scores by darting over in the right corner after Ben Blair had been held up just short.
They went ahead on the hour mark thanks to a piece of magic from Gavin Henson, who released co-centre Gavin Evans with a delightfully delayed pop pass, allowing Evans to put James over for a converted try, ahead of a further exchange of penalties.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton