Cardiff beat London Irish 22-15 at Madejski Stadium on Saturday to remain level with Edinburgh at the top of Heineken Cup Pool 2.
Cardiff Blues beat London Irish 22-15 at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday to remain level with Edinburgh at the top of Pool 2.
London Irish bow out of the Heineken Cup, as five Leigh Halfpenny penalties and a Sam Warburton try were enough to hand Cardiff victory.
The home side came into the game in desperate need of a big win to keep their slim chances of making the quarter-finals aliv and the first half definitely had that competitive edge about it, with both sides cancelling each other out.
It was very much the battle of the boots in the opening period, with Halfpenny giving the visitors an early lead with a penalty, answered just a minute later by London Irish, Adrian Jarvis with a placed kick of his own.
Neither side were able to carve out a try-scoring chance in what remained of the first half, as both defences held firm, but there were to be two further penalties from Jarvis for the hosts before the interval, with Halfpenny responding for Cardiff right on the stroke of half time to reduce the home side's lead to three points at the break.
Cardiff came out firing on all cylinders after the restart, and were rewarded with the onlytry of the game as Warburton went over after a fantastioc break by Casey Laulala. Halfpenny added the conversion.
London Irish needed a result though, and they gave themselves every chance when a Delon Armitage penalty left a point between the teams with half an hour left.
The sides then traded a penalty apiece, before Halfpenny kicked his fourth penalty with fifteen minutes remaining to leave the Blues ahead by four.
And the Cardiff fly-half added yet another penalty late on to leave London Irish too much to do, as their hopes of progressing from the pool were effectively ended as the Blues marched on to victory.
For London Irish:
Pens: Jarvis 4, Armitage
For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Halfpenny 5
Yellow card: Davies (Blues – 79th min)
London Irish:15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Alex Gray, 7 David Sisi, 6 Bryn Evans, 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 David Paice, 1 Clarke Dermody (c).
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Paulica Ion, 19 Bob Casey, 20 James Sandford, 21 Tom Homer, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Paul Hodgson.
Cardiff Blues:15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrell, 17 John Yapp, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Maama Molitika, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Richard Mustoe.
Referee: Neil Paterson