Cardiff Blues 35 Ulster Rugby 17
Ulster's hopes of making the Guinness PRO14 playoffs are all but over as they suffered a 35-17 defeat to the Cardiff Blues at the Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Welsh region were led by fly half Jarrod Evans, who had a stunning game, as they got the four try bonus point through tries from Evans, Blaine Scully, Kristian Dacey and Dillon Lewis.
As for Ulster, they now face a battle to keep Benetton at bay with the Italians now just a point behind them in Conference B in the race for the Champions Cup playoffs.
Jono Gibbes’ side got off to the worst possible start as Cardiff scored after just two minutes, Evans dancing over under the posts after Rey Lee-Lo stretched the Ulster defence with an excellent surging run.
John Cooney got Ulster on the board with a penalty, but the hosts notched their second try on the quarter hour mark when great hands from Willis Halaholo and Tomos Williams allowed Blaine Scully to dive over.
Things looked to be getting even worse for the visitors when Wiehahn Herbst was yellow carded for an illegal hit in a ruck, but Tomos Williams had a try ruled out by the TMO for a forward pass before Cooney’s second penalty actually saw the Irish province win the sin bin period.
Evans put over a penalty of his own to end the half for the Blues, but Ulster were the better side to start the second half even though they only emerged with two more Cooney kicks to show from it.
And Cardiff displayed their clinical nature when they grabbed their third score on the hour, Evans again instrumental as he spotted the gap and provided the offload for Kristian Dacey to score in the corner.
Despite Evans adding two penalties to make the win safe, it looked like the Blues wouldn’t get that fourth try, and instead Ulster scored themselves when Dave Shanahan crossed with a minute to play.
But the hosts wouldn’t be denied and Danny Wilson’s side got their just rewards when Evans again provided the final pass for prop Dillon Lewis to score with the final play to wrap up the five points.
For Cardiff Blues
Tries: Evans, Scully, Dacey, Lewis
Cons: Evans (3)
Pens: Evans (2)
Pens: Cooney (4)
(15-9) Matthew Morgan, Blaine Scully, Rey Lee-Lo (Garyn Smith 64), Willis Halaholo (Steve Shingler 77), Owen Lane, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams (Lloyd Williams 74); (1-8) Gethin Jenkins (Rhys Gill 65), Matthew Rees (Kristian Dacey 11), Scott Andrews (Dillon Lewis 61), George Earle, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull (Ben Murphy 64), Ellis Jenkins, Nick Williams (Macauley Cook 74).
(15-9) Charles Piutau, Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall (Louis Ludik 62), Stuart McCloskey (Pete Nelson 74), Jacob Stockdale, Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney (Dave Shanahan 74); (1-8) Andy Warwick (Callum Black 71), Rob Herring (John Andrew 61), Wiehahn Herbst (Ross Kane 61), Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell (Matthew Dalton 65), Iain Henderson, Clive Ross, Nick Timoney (Matthew Rea 71).
Yellow card: Wiehahn Herbst (29’)
Man of the Match: Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues)
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)