Ulster's pack overrun

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The Independent Online
Cardiff, after holding Begles to a draw in France, gave themselves a great chance of reaching the semi-finals of the inaug- ural Heineken European Cup with a thumping victory over Ulster at the Arms Park last night.

Cardiff outfought, out-thought and, in particular, out-scrummaged the Irish Province who time and again were caught red-handed as they were driven back by a more powerful and cohesive eight. It gave the Wales half- backs, Andy Moore and Adrian Davies, a comfortable platform and the scrum- half helped himself to two tries while the stand-off scored 21 points.

From the first scrum Ulster were shoved back over their own line as Moore dived into the spreadeagled Irish pack for a try. Cardiff's second try was the result of a cleverly worked midfield move which ended with Stephen John scoring in splendid style.

Before the interval of what had been a one-sided half, Davies was the fortunate recipient of a ricochet from his own grubber kick. Earlier Davies, despite kicking indifferently, had landed a penalty and three conversions.

Ulster's only response was a penalty from the stand-off McCall. An indication of the advantage Cardiff held in the scrummage was also provided by the No 8 Hemi Taylor, who helped himself to a try after the Ulster forwards once again were forced to retreat at a rate of knots.

Cardiff's superiority up front was such that when they were awarded a penalty from a handsome position in the second half they opted for a scrum from where Moore slipped over on the blind side. Although Ulster showed more resistance they conceded a sixth try when Mike Hall, who has signed for Wasps, burst through a broken defence.

The victory means that Alex Evans, who takes up an appointment in his native Australia in the new year, could leave Cardiff with the European Cup and richer by pounds 250,000.

Evans took over as Wales coach for the World Cup in South Africa and last night the Welsh Rugby Union were expected to interview a number of candidates for the pounds 50,000 post. But Clive Griffiths, the Wales rugby league coach, withdrew after discovering that the WRU had not made a formal approach to his employers, Warrington. Another candidate, Pierre Villepreux, the former French full-back, simply failed to turn up. It seems that the only candidate was Kevin Bowring, the current caretaker coach.

Cardiff: Tries Moore 2, John, Taylor, Davies, Hall; Conversions Davies 5; Penalties Davies 2. Ulster: Penalties McCall 2.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, S John, M Hall, N Walker; A Davies, A Moore; A Lewis, J Humphreys, L Mustoe, J Wakeford, D Jones, E Lewis (M Bennett, 78), H Taylor (capt), O Williams.

ULSTER: J Bell (Northampton); J Topping (Ballymena), M Field (Malone), W Harbinson (Malone, capt), J Cunningham (Dublin Univ); M McCall (Bangor), N Doak (NIFC); R Mackey (Malone), A Clarke (Northampton), G Leslie (Dungannon), J Davidson (Dungannon), G Longwell (Ballymena), S Duncan (Malone), D Erskine (Sale), D McBride (Malone). Replacement: R Wilson (Instonians) for McBride, 78.

Referee: G Borreani (France).