Blues left red-faced after second half surrender to Ulster

22 Nov

Bright performances from young Welsh backs Tom James and Chris Czekaj were scant consolation for the Blues on Sunday, as a spectacular second half implosion saw them crumble to a 37-15 defeat against Ulster.

Boosted by the return of All Blacks centre Casey Laulala, the Blues led 15-8 at half-time. But a second half of weak tackling and wayward passing saw the Blues sink without trace.

After being rested against Exeter last week, Laulala made an instant impact against Ulster with a wonderful, slaloming solo try.

Czjekaj was also pivotal to the Blues’ good start, and the former Bishop of Llandaff pupil made several cutting forays into the opposition’s 22.

The Blues’ early work was undone, however, when they allowed Ulster’s Craig Gilroy to cross over for the Northern Irish region’s first try from their first attack.

Having regained the lead through a Ceri Sweeney penalty, the Blues got back into top gear with a brilliant try which started in their 22 and had a decidedly Welsh flavour.

Czekaj’s 40-yard dash and chip sparked the attack, and the move was finished by James, who flew over for the Blues’ second try just moments before half-time.

But in the second half, the Ulster pack began to dominate, and the Blues’ sharpness and decisive distribution of the first half were replaced by aimlessness in attack and dreadful defending.

Wales prospect Scott Andrews worked tirelessly, though it was a somewhat chastening experience for the prop with South Africa international BJ Botha in the visitors’ front row.

Fledgling scrum-half Tom Slater, meanwhile, had a testing afternoon, with his energetic display undermined by some rashly taken quick penalties.

Whereas the Blues’ younger players faded as the second half wore on, Ulster had the luxury of bringing on Ireland internationals Paddy Wallace and Andrew Trimble.

Wallace’s introduction was particularly telling, as he had a hand in Ulster’s third and fourth tries before adding one of his own.

By the time Wallace had crossed the line for the visitors’ fifth and final try, the Cardiff City Stadium was already emptying rapidly.

Blues coach Dai Young was far from impressed: “We’ve been very disappointing in both our last home Magners League matches. There are no excuses.”


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