Ul­ster care­fully and reap re­wards

Tread

Irish Sunday Mirror - - SPORT - BY RO­NAN O’NEILL

KIERAN TREADWELL scored the only try and Ul­ster grabbed their sixth win of the sea­son in the Pro14 with a nar­row vic­tory over Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Sta­dium.

Re­turn­ing Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­als Rory Best and Ja­cob Stock­dale both came off the bench to make some cru­cial turnovers late on while John Cooney scored from all four kicks.

The Ul­ster scrum-half was the top point scorer in the Pro14 last sea­son and he was a wel­come in­clu­sion af­ter his first start for Ire­land against the USA last week­end.

Cardiff took a 12-10 lead into half-time af­ter a hotly con­tested first half.

Ul­ster got the first points on the board when Olly Robin­son was pe­nalised at the break­down and Cooney scored the penalty.

That score came in the third minute and should have set­tled Ul­ster but Cardiff got some ter­ri­tory and only a knock-on from Samu Manoa pre­vented them from mak­ing it deep into the Ul­ster 22.

Cardiff came again how­ever and, with Manoa and for­mer Ul­ster man Nick Wil­liams in the back row, they had two huge pow­er­houses.

Both were in­volved in the open­ing try when they pul­verised the Ul­ster de­fence and Matthew Mor­gan scored in the left cor­ner.

Jar­rod Evans missed the con­ver­sion and Ul­ster scored next when Stu­art Mc­closkey tapped and went with a penalty in the 13th minute.

He got his hands free in the tackle and the ball re­bounded off Treadwell’s shins be­fore he re-gath­ered to fin­ish im­pres­sively.

Cooney slot­ted the ex­tras for a 10-5 lead but that lead was short lived and Kris­tian Dacey scored his sec­ond try in as many weeks af­ter a team ef­fort from a rolling maul.

Evans did con­vert on this oc­ca­sion and that was the dif­fer­ence as Cardiff led by two at half-time.

The first score of the sec­ond half didn’t ar­rive un­til 18 min­utes in when Cooney stroked over a penalty from in front of the posts.

Seb Davies got yellow in the 55th minute when he col­lided with Ross Kane’s back.

Cooney scored two penal­ties to move Ul­ster just out of range and a late turnover from Best was cru­cial, while Stock­dale did like­wise with Ul­ster in deep trouble.

Ul­ster go to Scar­lets next week­end for the first of their back-to-back Cham­pi­ons Cup games.

AS­TUTE: Ul­ster star Stu­art Mc­closkey off­loads the ball

TEMPERS FLARE: Ul­ster & Cardiff play­ers clash

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