Zebre created the biggest upset of the Pro12 season so far, claiming their first win with a 30-25 victory over Cardiff Blues at Arms Park.
Zebre created the biggest upset of the Pro12 season so far, claiming their first win with a 30-25 victory over Cardiff Blues at Arms Park on Friday.
The Italian side snatched their firstPro12 win in 25 attempts, although the match had a controversial ending.
Fifteen points from the boot of Luciano Orquera added to tries from Mauro Bergomasco, David Odiete and Brendon Leonard, saw the Italians earn a famous scalp, and end their search for that elusive first win.
The home side had flown out of the blocks, with Dafydd Hewitt scoring between the posts after only two minutes with what eventually proved to be Cardiff's only try of the game, for Leigh Halfpenny to convert easily on his first appearance of the season.
The visitors though, were back on level terms after soaking up protracted Cardiff pressure, as Mauro Bergamasco gave his side their first points of the night with drive over the line, and with Orquera's conversion, the sides were level after 14 minutes.
Orquera's kick from a tight angle gave Zebre the lead halfway through the first period, and although Halfpenny missed a chance to equalise after half an hour, he managed a successful kick soon afterwards to peg the scores level.
But it was that man Orquera who gave the Italian side the half-time lead, with his precise kicking five minutes before the whistle.
With the lead at the break, Zebre looked to go one better than last week, having surrendered their half-time lead against Munster.
Halfpenny brought the Blues level soon after the restart, but Orquera kicked his side back in front again five minutes later.
Halfpenny's accurate kicking saw the full-back kick two further penalties to give the home side the lead once more, but it was down to tries from Odiete and Leonard to stretch the lead.
Though two more penalties from Halfpenny were put away, Cardiff were unable to break through once more, even though the Italians went down to 14 men after Luca Redolfini was sin-binned five minutes from the end.
There was confusion at the end as the visitors appeared to have an extra man on the field for a passage of play in the closing minute – as after replacement prop Redolfini was sent to the sin bin, Dario Chistolini was called back on to complete the front row for a scrum, without anyone making way for him until the vital phase was over.
Frantic play on the Zebre line saw the defence hold firm for wild celebrations among the Zebre players at the whistle.
For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Halfpenny 6
Tries: Bergamasco, Odiete, Leonard
Cons: Orquera 3
Pens: Orquera 3
Yellow card: Redolfini
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Andries Pretorius (c), 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 James Down, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Cory Allen.
Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 David Odiete, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Dion Berryman, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Giovanbattista Venditti.
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Referee: Leo Colgan (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)