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Friday, 18 October, 2002, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Ulster too good for Cardiff
Justin Fitzpatrick attempts a burst
Ulster's Justin Fitzpatrick was named man-of-the-match
Ulster 25-6 Cardiff

Ulster got their Heineken Cup campaign back on track with this impressive victory over Cardiff at Ravenhill.

The defeat could well have delivered a fatal blow to Cardiff's hopes of progressing in this year's competition.

The Welsh club lost their opening home game against French club Biarritz last weekend and now face a huge task to qualify for the next stage.

Ulster also needed a victory after their opening defeat at Northampton.

After a lively start by the visitors, Ulster largely dominated the contest.

Early Cardiff pressure yielded a sixth-minute penalty from Iestyn Harris after the Welsh team had threatened the Ulster line.

Ulster's Tyrone Howe had to leave the field early on because of a pulled hamstring
Tyrone Howe: First half injury

Ulster then suffered a blow when Irish international winger Tyrone Howe had to leave the field because of a hamstring injury.

Scott Young replaced Howe to earn his first piece of Heineken Cup action.

A burst by the in-form prop Justin Fitzpatrick then earned an Ulster penalty which David Humphreys slotted over from 30 metres to level matters.

More Ulster pressure earned another penalty in front of the Cardiff posts in the 17th minute but scrum-half Neil Doak unwisely elected to run the ball and the chance was lost.

  Match details:
Ulster 25 (13)
Tries: Young

Pens: Humphreys 5
Cons: Humphreys 1
Drops: Humphreys 1
Cardiff 6 (3)

Pens: Harris 2

However, Ulster were establishing control and the home side threatened the Cardiff line again in the 22nd minute with Warren Brosnihan held up inches short.

Ulster were camped in the Cardiff 22 for the next four minutes but despite a succession of scrums, they were unable to turn the possession into points.

However, the Ulster territorial dominance was finally rewarded on the half-hour when Humphreys was successful with another penalty.

The lively Doak and Shane Stewart then set up a glorious chance for an Ulster try three minutes before the break but at the vital moment, the scrum-half knocked on.

Neil Doak's sniping runs caused problems for the Cardiff defence
Neil Doak (right) battles for possession

However, Ulster made no mistake a minute later with Humphreys' unselfish pass setting up debutant Young for a vital Ulster try.

Humphreys' conversion left Ulster 13-3 ahead at the break which was much more representative of the first half action.

Ulster continued their good work early in the second half with Humphreys slotting over a routine penalty to extend his side's advantage to 13 points.

Harris replied with a badly-needed Cardiff penalty in the 48th minute.

The score rallied the visitors and they held the edge over the next 10 minutes without managing to add to their total.

But Ulster then re-established control with a series of drives deep into the Cardiff 22 which were eventually rewarded by a Humphreys penalty.

Any hope of a Cardiff comeback was ended by a trademark Humphreys drop goal with nine minutes of normal time left and a further penalty from the fly-half increased Ulster's lead to 22 points.

Ulster lost centre Jonny Bell to injury in the closing minutes but they held on comfortably to claim a deserved victory.

Ulster: B Cunningham; J Topping; S Stewart, J Bell, T Howe; D Humphreys, N Doak; J Fitzpatrick, M Sexton, R Kempson, G Longwell, M Blair, W Brosnihan, N McMillan, T McWhirter. Replacements: S Best, P Shields, M McCullough, N Best, K Campbell, A Larkin, S Young.

Cardiff: R Williams; N Walne, J Robinson, P Muller, C Morgan; I Harris, R Smith; T Payne, A Lewis, K Fourie, H Senekal, A Jones, R Appleyard, D Baugh, M Williams(capt)
Replacements: D Young, G Woods, L Tait, D McShane, R Powell, N Robinson, A Sullivan

Referee: R Dickson (Scotland)

Att: 10,250

Ulster's Justin Fitzpatrick
"We put things right tonight"
Ulster fly-half David Humphreys
"The front five are winning the battles"
Cardiff team manager Derwyn Jones
"There were a lot of positives out there"
BBC's Jim Neilly reports
Cardiff's Heineken Cup campaign lies in tatters

Heineken Cup

Parker Pen Cup


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