Ulster A 32-5 Cardiff Blues A

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Cardiff Blues A suffered a sobering defeat away at Ulster A in the second round of the Celtic Cup as the wait for a first win of the season goes on.

Head coaches Gethin Jenkins and T Rhys Thomas once again named a team mixed with Academy talent and Indigo Group Premiership players to travel to Belfast, although there were eight changes to the team which had lost against Leinster A in the opening game the week before.

Ulster, who had beaten Scarlets A at Llandovery in round one, immediately put the visitors under pressure, camping in the opposition 22 but strong defence kept them at bay with Callum Bradbury, Sam Beard and Jamie Hill leading the way.

There was also a brilliant try saving tackle from Ioan Davies to stop a rampaging prop, but eventually the home side opened the scoring through a Bruce Houston penalty kick, and then Ross Adair got over the whitewash for the first try of the game.

Finally Cardiff Blues managed to get on the attack after being pinned back for much of the opening 20 minutes, as Hill released Dafydd Smith down the right wing, and although the Wales Sevens player was stopped short the resulting pressure saw Ulster infringe and Azur Allison sent to the sin bin.

Unfortunately the visitors could not capitalise on the man advantage, with the bounce of the ball going against them twice, and Houston even managed to add another three points of the score, giving Ulster an 11-0 advantage at the break.

Back up the a full complement of players after the break, the hosts wasted no time making the game safe as they first drove over from close range, before a long range effort saw them score a third try, with two conversions making the score 25-0.

Ross Adair added a second try of his own to add salt to the wound, but Cardiff Blues did not leave with a nil as Smith and Dale Stuckey linked up, with the latter finishing brilliantly to get the away side on the scoresheet.

A 32-5 scoreline certainly a tough one to take, but as the Premiership players return to their clubs ahead of the league getting started next week, hopefully they can take plenty from their experience and the Cardiff Blues coaches have had a chance to evaluate who could make the step up if required.

Next Saturday sees Dragons A arrive at the Arms Park as part of Summerfest, with both teams believed to putting out sides closer to their first team standards than the development sides seen so far.

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