Ulster maintained their unbeaten record in the RaboDirect Pro12 with an easy 20-3 victory over Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill on Friday evening. Despite the wind and rain,the home side had little trouble in picking up full points and they now top the table.
The opening half was slow to get going and despite their huge amount of possession, Ulster struggled to get points on the board. Ian Humphries missed a number of chances from penalties, but with the strong breeze making kicking difficult, he can be forgiven the errors. He did manage a score to get his side off the mark and help establish a 3-0 lead. Craig Gilroy looked exceptional in the early minutes and everytime he touched the ball the crowd anticipated a score. He certainly looks a star of the future and will be a major player at international level in the coming years.
Darran Cave is another that has promised a great deal and he really came of age tonight with a fine performance. He crashed over for a try after an excellent break from Gilroy to give the home side an 8-0 lead. Humphries kicked the conversion to leave the scoreline 10-0. Minutes later Cave scored his second try of the night and this time it was all his own making. He burst his way through the Cardiff defence and when the line was in sight he dived on the soft ground and slid over the tryline. With Humphries nailing the two points from the conversion it left the hosts leading 17-0 at the interval. Cave did not reappear after the break but his first half performance spoke for itself.
The second half was a very tame affair and never reached the heights of the opening period. Cardiff tried hard to break down the Ulster defence but got little change from the home side. With Rush sinbinned early on, the visitors were never a real threat and struggled to get scores on the board. Ceri Sweeney got their sole score of the game with a penalty. Ian Humphries picked up an injury when he was hit late and had to be replaced by Paddy Jackson. The latter had the final say on the scoreboard when he tapped over a penalty from close range in the dying minutes of the game.