Ulster stay on course for home URC quarter-final with bonus-point win
Ulster remained on course for a home quarter-final in the United Rugby Championship with a bonus-point win but Cardiff’s hopes of finishing in the top eight are virtually over.
The visitors ran in six tries in total, replacement hooker Tom Stewart collecting two of them, as they claimed a 42-20 victory in the Welsh capital.
Dan McFarland’s men got off to a dream start when centre Stewart Moore sliced clean through the fragile home defence in only the second minute and they finally reached their goal of four tries in the 52nd minute when Billy Burns raced between two defenders on the home line to score after constant pressure from the forwards.
In between those two scores the Irish side had flexed their muscles to such good effect that barring a moment of magic from Samoan centre Rey Lee-Lo, playing his 150th game for Cardiff, they were under little or no threat.
That Lee-Lo moment came after eight minutes when he bounced off two would-be tacklers and somehow released a one-handed pass out of the back of his hand. That fed Owen Lane who ran in unopposed.
Moments later Jarrod Evans landed a penalty and somehow Cardiff led 8-7. Not for long, though.
Some magic up to the left touchline from Jacob Stockdale, with a trademark chip and chase, saw him crash over in the corner.
Ulster scrum-half Nathan Doak, who managed to convert all six tries, sniped over for one of his own to make it three tries in 25 minutes.
The only surprise was they did not get a fourth just before the break after ignoring an attempt at goal to kick to the corner.
Cardiff became increasingly passive in contact and the heavy carries from the Ulsterman eventually battered the home team into submission.
Once Burns had bagged the bonus there was time for replacement Stewart to enjoy himself with two tries – the first only a minute after he had taken to the field.
Cardiff rallied late on with a second try for Lane, set-up once again by Lee-Lo and then replacement wing Aled Summerfield went on a solo run to score after his fellow wing Jason Harries had intercepted in his own 22 and created a rare attacking chance for the Blue and Blacks.
Evans converted the latter, but it was much too little too late.
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G'day, Nick. Sorry to see you've gone from the other place. It will be a poorer experience for many because of it. As others mentioned, your detailed analysis and commitment to engaging with every person commenting on your articles stood out and was the main reason I ended up joining 5 years ago. I'll be spending a bit more time over here now I think.Go to comments
Think you boys forgot that Graham Henry coached the 2011 All Blacks and that Hansen/ Smith were assistants. The cross was shouldered by Henry. Erasmus' point here is that he and Nienaber are looking to win back to back WC's as head coaching combos. A bit of a reach because he is now the DoR and not the coach with the title anymore, but we all know who the real brain behind this Bok squad/strategy is.Go to comments