Cardiff Blues bounced back from their loss to Leinster with immediate effect on Saturday, recording a 43-21 victory over the Dragons.
Cardiff Blues bounced back from their loss to Leinster with immediate effect as they recorded a bonus-point 43-21 win over the Dragons on Saturday.
While the result rarely seemed in doubt, it did take the Blues until 78 minutes to record their fourth try.
The Dragons opened the scoring with outside half Matthew Jones slotting a straightforward penalty.
In the same incident there was a serious injury for centre Casey Laulala, who was stretchered off after the game was held up for several minutes to ensure the full medical attention. Fortunately it turned out to be better than it looked.
Cardiff Blues took a little while to get into their stride, though Ben Blair did level with a penalty.
The first try of the game was a beauty from the Blues, outside half Ceri Sweeney involved twice in a move of slick handling finished off by right wing Leigh Halfpenny supporting up the middle of the pitch to go over under the posts, easily converted by Blair.
Jones landed a second penalty to close the gap before the Blues spent a lengthy period camped in the Dragons 22. A try had to come and in the end it was scored by hooker Rhys Thomas over on the right, Blair adding the conversion from wide out.
The Blues continued to dominate territory and possession and extended their lead just before half-time with Blair landing a penalty from 45 yards to make the score at the break 20-6 to the Blues.
The second half started with an exchange of penalties, first Jones narrowing the lead and then Blair restoring the 14-point margin.
The Dragons narrowed it again with a try which started within their own half with centre Tom Riley bursting clear against his former club. Full back Will Harries had the pace and agility to finish the move off in the left hand corner. Jones added the conversion.
Blair extended the lead to two scores by adding a penalty and the Dragons problems were increased when prop Ben Castle was sin-binned for going offside deliberately in a ruck.
The Blues added a third try when hooker Thomas scored his second of the match following a break by Sweeney taken on by Martyn Williams.
Then No 8 Xavier Rush brought up the bonus point fourth try by taking a quick penalty and barging his way over, just reaching out to the try line to score. Blair converted. The full back also added another penalty.
Adam Hughes scored a consolation try in injury time for the Dragons.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Halfpenny, Thomas 2, Rush
Con: Blair 4
Pen: Blair 5
Tries: Harries, Hughes
Pen: Jones 3
Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Tom Shanklin, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (capt), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Tafa'ao Filise, 18 John Yapp, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Michael Paterson, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.
Dragons: 15 Will Harries, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Rhodri Gomer Davies, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Matthew Jones, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Gavin Thomas, 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Luke Charteris (capt), 3 Ben Castle, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Nigel Hall, 18 Aaron Coundley, 19 Scott Morgan, 20 Andrew Coombs, 21 Adam Hughes, 22 Nicky Griffiths, 23 Shaun Connor.
Referee: Nigel Owens