|Cardiff (8) 20|
|Tries: Lane 2, Summerhill Con: Evans Pens: Evans|
|Ulster (21) 42|
|Tries: Moore, Stockdale, Doak, Burns, Stewart 2 Cons: Doak 6|
Ulster swept Cardiff aside to maintain their charge for a top two finish in the United Rugby Championship.
Stewart Moore, Jacob Stockdale, Nathan Doak, Billy Burns all crossed before Tom Stewart’s brace capped a dominant display to regain third place.
Cardiff briefly led through Owen Lane who grabbed a second late on before Aled Summerhill crossed.
But it was a limp display for home side after yet another tough week for the Welsh regions.
It was a depressing farewell to the Arms Park in Cardiff’s last home game of the season but possibility inevitable given the uncertainty gripping Welsh rugby amid the impasse over a financial deal.
Ulster had no such concerns and despite ten changes to the side that beat Sharks in South Africa last week, they took the lead inside two minutes.
Centre Moore, a try-scorer in Durban, looked almost more surprised as he found himself marked by two forwards who had little chance as he glided through to score.
Not to be outdone, opposite number Rey Lee-Lo marked his 150th appearance for Cardiff with a moment of sublime skill to create Lane’s try moments later.
Lee-Lo bounced off two defenders before reaching behind the back of Michael Lowry to flick the ball one-handed for Lane’s third try in two games.
Evans missed the conversion but kicked a penalty for an 8-7 lead that flattered to deceive the 6,728 crowd.
Ulster stepped up a gear and simply brushed Cardiff aside, moving their opponents around the field to create mismatches where there was only one winner.
Moore sucked in three defenders to open space for Stockdale to chip ahead and score.
Prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen then did similar work for scrum-half Doak to slip through a wide open defence with Cardiff failing to fill gaps as they reeled backwards.
Wales props Rhys Carre and Dillon Lewis were back in the team though were given a torrid time by Ulster’s front-row trio.
The visitors should have wrapped up a bonus point before half-time but captain Rob Herring’s scoring pass was off-target.
However the writing was on the wall as Burns squeezed between two defenders to claim the fourth try 11 minutes into the second half.
Replacement hooker Stewart swiftly followed as Cardiff resistance wilted and at 35-13, the signs were ominous for the hosts.
However Cardiff’s lively backs briefly rallied and Lee-Lo was again the key to unlocking the Irish defence, providing Lane with an easy finish for his second try.
The Samoan international was handed a standing ovation when he limped off moments later and Summerhill finished a sweeping attack that began with a Jason Harries interception inside their own 22.
Ulster had the last say as Steward at the tail of another driving maul to cap a dominant performance on their last away game of the season.
Cardiff head coach Dai Young:
“I don’t think we can use what’s been going on off the field as an excuse. Maybe it was a factor but we saw tonight what a top three side looked like.
“They were better than us in all areas. They were full of size, power and pace and we just couldn’t handle it. We’re nowhere near a top three side at the moment.
“We were a little better in the second half, but the support runners had to be quicker to the ball carrier and we had to put the ball behind them a little bit more. But Ulster were really good and they take some beating.”
Cardiff: Ben Thomas; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Jason Harries; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Carre, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, Lopeti Timani, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull (capt), Ellis Jenkins, James Ratti.
Replacements: Liam Belcher, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Teddy Williams, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ellis Bevan, Aled Summerhill, Matthew Morgan.
Ulster: Mike Lowry; Ben Moxham, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, Nathan Doak; Rory Sutherland, Rob Herring (capt), Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Kieran Treadwell, Sam Carter, Dave McCann, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: Tom Stewart, Callum Reid, Gareth Milasinovich, Alan O’Connor, Harry Sheridan, John Cooney, Jude Postlethwaite, Ethan McIlroy.
Referee: Hollie Davidson (SRU)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones & Simon Rees (WRU)
TMO: Dave Sutherland (SRU))
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