Cardiff Blues avoided another European whitewash as they fought out a gutsy 16-12 victory over Ulster at the Arms Park.

Replacement hooker Rhys Thomas got the vital try nine minutes from time to earn the Welsh region their first success of this season’s Heineken Cup.

Meanwhile Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan will be sweating on news over David Humphreys who staggered from the field with a suspected fractured cheekbone suffered during Cardiff’s opening try.

Humphreys, who had levelled the scores with a second penalty early in the second half, collided with teammate Kevin Maggs as Tom Shanklin burst through to set up Jonny Vaughton’s score.

Two penalties from replacement Adam Larkin set-up a nail-biting finish but Cardiff’s defence for once held firm to record only their third European victory in three seasons.