Ulster started and finished in a hurry, and although they allowed the visitors to come within four points at one stage, they completely dominated the second half to collect their deserved bonus-point win. If Paddy Jackson had of been more accurate as he had been of late, it would have been a real drubbing.
Right from the off, Ulster forced the issue and camped in the Cardiff 22, but the visitors’ defence held firm despite some piercing darts by Payne. The pressure did tell with Jackson rifling over a 30-metre angled penalty but Leigh Halfpenny matched that soon afterwards.
Ulster then scored a superlative try in the 15th minute. Payne again caused mayhem down the right before play was switched quickly left and a deft delay and pass by Stuart Olding to Marshall who in turn fed Diack who provided the scoring pass out wide to Tuohy.
Ulster registered their second try in the 25th minute. A quick piece of thinking by Ruan Pienaar when Ulster were awarded a penalty at a scrum saw the scrum-half take a quick tap, feed Jackson and his long floated pass found Payne out wide to trundle in.
Another destructive scrum by Ulster in the 27th minute allowed Jackson to knock over his second penalty as Ulster stretched out a 16-3 lead and in apparent total control.
However, Cardiff surged back into the game with No 8 Robin Copeland backing up to run in the 35th minute. Halfpenny missed the conversion, but two minutes later the Lions star drifted over his second penalty.
Ulster started with a bang on the restart and the talented Olding’s one-handed offload found Marshall charging through at speed. Although the Ireland centre was held up, he managed to stretch over for the try which was confirmed by the TMO.
Jackson stretched the lead further with his third penalty after Copeland was yellow-carded for some ground work with his hands.
However, that didn’t stop never-say-die Cardiff side from charging back again when left wing Richard Smith charged in at the corner with Halfpenny converting for 24-18 scoreline.
Pienaar then rattled over one of his long-range efforts in the 52nd minute only to be matched by Halfpenny two minutes later.
Although Cardiff were very much in the hunt, it was Ulster who were continually applying the pressure and they deservedly grabbed their bonus point try bin the 66th minute when Bowe made an incursion from the left wing into midfield to provide Trimble the chance to scorch in at the corner.
With complete domination around the park in the final quarter, it was left to Tuohy to grab his second try after the ball was whizzed back and forward along the Ulster backline. Pienaar converted to rack up a good night for his side.
Scorers for Ulster:Tries: Tuohy 2, Payne, Marshall, Trimble; Pens: Jackson 3, Pienaar; Cons: Pienaar
Cardiff Blues: Tries: Copeland, Smith Pens: Halfpenny 3 Cons: Halfpenny.
ULSTER: S Olding; A Trimble, J Payne, L Marshall (Cave, 68), T Bowe; P Jackson, R Pienaar; C Black, R Best (Herring, 20), J Afoa (Lutton, 50), J Muller, capt (Stevenson 16), D Tuohy, R Diack (McComish, 73), C Henry, R Wilson.
CARDIFF BLUES: L Halfpenny; R Smith, C Allen, D Hewitt, H Robinson (Czekaj, 76), R Patchell, L Williams (Jones, 67); G Jenkins, capt, (Hobbs, 60) M Breeze (Dacey, 67)S Andrews, B Davies, F Paulo (L Reed, 60), J Navidi, S Warburton (Jones, 77), R Copeland.
Referee: G Vivarini (Italy).