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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 20:10 GMT 21:10 UK
Ulster 21-16 Blues
David Humphreys lands his first drop goal against Cardiff Blues
Ulster (12) 21
Pens: Humphreys 5
Drop goals: Humphreys 2
Blues (3) 16
Try: Shanklin
Con: Thomas
Pens: Thomas 2
Drop goal: Thomas
Att: 9,600
Ulster had the boot of David Humphreys to thank for victory in their opening Heineken Cup game at home to the Blues.

The Ireland fly-half kicked all 21 of Ulster's points and passed the 400-mark in the European competition to give the province a desperately-needed success.

The Blues got the only try but Tom Shanklin's touchdown counted for nothing as Humphreys enjoyed a 100 per cent kicking success rate.

He landed two drop goals and five straight penalty attempts.

Blues number 10 Lee Thomas kicked two penalties and a drop goal as well as the simple conversion.

It was an error-strewn game with little in the way of flowing rugby for the Belfast crowd.

The win was everything and the players dealt with the pressure they were under prior to this game incredibly well
Mark McCall
Ulster coach
Humphreys put Ulster in front after six minutes with a drop goal but Thomas had the Welsh side level on 15 minutes with a penalty.

Humphreys then landed three consecutive penalties without reply to give the Irish province a 12-3 advantage at the break.

Poor Ulster defensive work within a minute of the restart resulted in Shanklin going through under the posts. Thomas converted to reduce the arrears to two points.

Ulster were then penalised for high tackling and Thomas landed the 48th-minute kick to give the Blues the lead for the first time at 13-12.

I thought we were the better team in most departments but the major difference was the penalty count of 18-8 against us
Dai Young
Cardiff director of coaching
A superb Humphreys penalty saw Ulster regain the lead only for Thomas to land a drop.

But Ulster got the winning score when Kevin Maggs set Humphreys up for his second drop goal of the night and the Ulster flyhalf then made sure of victory with his fifth penalty.

Ulster: B Cunningham, T Bowe, K Maggs, P Steinmetz, T Howe, D Humphreys, K Campbell; R McCormack, N Brady, S Best, G Longwell, M McCullough, A Ward (capt), N Best, C Feather.

Replacements: P Shields, R Moore, R Frost, R Wilson, N Doak, P Wallace, J Bell.

Blues: C Morgan; N Walne, R Williams, T Shanklin, J Vaughton; L Thomas, D Dewdney; G Jenkins, G Williams, M Jones, C Quinnell, D Jones, N Thomas, M Williams (capt), K Schubert.

Replacements: A Lewis, R Thomas, R Sidoli, N Budgett, R Smith, N Macleod, S James.

Referee: Joel Jutge (France)


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