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Cardiff end on a high

19th January 2013 17:25

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Leigh Halfpenny Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues ended their winless run in the Heineken Cup after seeing off Sale Sharks 26-14 at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.

Cardiff were looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat to Toulon a week earlier, while Sale were searching for form after being humbled at home by Montpellier.

It was the visitors who got off to the perfect start in this match, though their try in the fourth minute was as good as it would get for Sale.

Tommy Taylor was the man over the line for the Sharks following a rolling maul, but, after Rob Miller added the extras, Leigh Halfpenny reduced the arrears with a penalty goal after the visitors infringed at the maul.

Two further penalties from Halfpenny in the minutes that followed saw Cardiff head into the break with a 9-7 lead, before a frantic start to the second half.

Sale regained the lead with their second converted try just two minutes after the restart, coming from Aston Croall, though they were quickly behind again as the Blues were quick to respond.

The number nine Lloyd Williams was the man to get over the line, and Halfpenny's conversion made it 16-14 with more than 30 minutes still remaining.

The brace of tries did not provide the platform for a flurry of points in the second half, however, as the two teams tried but failed to take a foothold in the game.

The pivotal points were scored in the final ten minutes, as Cardiff withstood intense Sharks pressure before adding their second converted try of the afternoon, and a penalty for good measure.

Michael Paterson's effort on 74 minutes left Sale with a mountain to climb, and, after adding the extras, Halfpenny's penalty in the dying minutes rounded off the scoring and sealed a welcome victory for Cardiff.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Williams, Paterson
Con: Halfpenny 2
Pens: Halfpenny 4

For Sale:
Tries: Taylor, Croall
Cons: Miller 2

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Robin Copeland, 20 Michael Paterson, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.

Sale: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Jordan Davies, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Rob Miller, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 David Seymour, 6 James Doyle, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Tom Holmes, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Aston Croall.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Tom Cruse, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Mark Cueto.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

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