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Ulster stage second half comeback to down Cardiff Blues in low-scoring thriller

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey in against against Cardiff Blues.
Ulster's Stuart McCloskey in against against Cardiff Blues.
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 1/12/2018 Ulster vs Cardiff Blues Ulster's John Cooney kicks a conversion Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 1/12/2018 Ulster vs Cardiff Blues Ulster's Kieran Treadwell scores a try Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
Ulster's Rob Herring makes his 150th appearance for the province.
Ulster's Jacob Stockdale warming up.
Ulster's Stuart McCloskey.
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 1/12/2018 Ulster vs Cardiff Blues Ulster's Rob Herring warming up before the match Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
Could Rory Best be in his final year as an Ulster player?
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 1/12/2018 Ulster vs Cardiff Blues A general view of the Ulster dressing room Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 1/12/2018 Ulster vs Cardiff Blues A general view of the Kingspan Stadium Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 1/12/2018 Ulster vs Cardiff Blues A general view of Guinness PRO14 match balls Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 1/12/2018 Ulster vs Cardiff Blues A general view of the Kingspan Stadium Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Ulster held on to get back to winning ways in the Guinness PRO14 as they defeated the Cardiff Blues 16-12 at Kingspan Stadium.

Eleven points from the boot of John Cooney and a try from Kieran Treadwell helped Ulster to the victory over a stubborn Cardiff side, who were strong defensively.

Cooney got Ulster off to a flier as he kicked them ahead in the third minute, only for the Blues to strike back immediately as Matthew Morgan went over for a 10th minute try.

Ulster responded quickly as Treadwell kicked ahead from Stuart McCloskey's offload and dived on the ball to score, but the Blues once again pushed ahead as Kristian Dacey went over from a maul.

The two sides clashed at the start of the second half after Ulster had introduced Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale off the bench, with McCloskey and Stockdale at the centre of a fracas, before Blues lock Seb Davies saw yellow for a shoulder charge at a ruck.

That allowed Ulster to turn up the pressure, and Cooney kicked them ahead through two penalties to give them a four-point lead.

Although they came close late on, the hosts held on thanks to key turnovers from Best and Stockdale for the four points.

Relive all the action from Kingspan Stadium on our live blog:

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