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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 April, 2004, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Blues 19-15 Ulster
CELTIC LEAGUE
Blues centre Tom Shanklin is tackled by Ulster's David Humphreys
Blues (12) 19
Tries: Shanklin 2, R Williams
Cons: Robinson, Harris
Ulster (3) 15
Tries: S Best, Brosnihan
Con: Humphreys
Drop: Humphreys
Ulster have joined Llanelli Scarlets at the top of the Celtic League despite losing to the Blues at the Arms Park in Cardiff on Saturday.

As Alan Solomons' side were beaten by just four points they picked up a bonus point to be level with Llanelli on 58.

Blues centre Tom Shanklin was named man of the match after he scored two tries.

Full-back Rhys Williams got the other Cardiff touchdown with Ulster's tries coming in the second half from Simon Best and Warren Brosnihan.

Three excellent tries had given the Blues a 19-3 lead but, with two men seeing yellow cards, they were hanging on desperately at the end.

Cardiff's bright start was rewarded after 13 minutes when Nick Walne collected a wayward kick deep in his own half and fed Rhys Williams, who sliced through, exchanged passes with Nicky Robinson and put Tom Shanklin over.

Robinson converted, but it was his only successful kick and things showed little improvement in that area when Iestyn Harris took over responsibility.

Ulster hit back with a David Humphreys drop-goal on a rare visit to the Blues 22, but the Welsh region rounded off the half in style, Harris, Shanklin and wing Jonny Vaughton combining to put Williams in

Vaughton pulled a hamstring in the move and was replaced for the second period by Matt Allen, who soon found himself chasing a long kick by Robinson after the fly-half broke from his own 22.

Ulster survived that, but were penalised and the Blues sent Shanklin over under the posts. This time Harris converted.

Ulster prop Simon Best crashed over and then replacement Brosnihan went through and Humphreys' conversion cut the deficit to four points.


Blues: R Williams; N Walne; T Shanklin, I Harris, J Vaughton, N Robinson; R Powell, J Yapp; R Thomas, B Evans, C Quinnell, J Brownrigg, R Appleyard, M Williams (capt), N Thomas.
Replacements: A Lewis, D Crompton, H Senekal, J Goode, R Sowden-Taylor, A Moore, M Allen.

Ulster: P Wallace; J Topping; S Stewart, P Steinmetz, T Howe; D Humphreys, N Doak; S Best, M Sexton, R Moore, G Longwell, M McCullough, N Best, N McMillan, A Ward, capt.
Replacements: P Shields, R McCormack, R Frost, W Brosnihan, K Campbell, A Larkin, S Mallon.

Referee: Gregg Davies (Scotland).




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