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Cardiff Blues

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08th October 2011 15:57

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Chris Czekaj

Two tries: Chris Czekaj

The Cardiff Blues secured all five points against Aironi on Saturday, winning 37-26 at Stadio Zaffanella.

Chris Czekaj scored twice and Ceri Sweeney kicked flawlessly as Cardiff returned to winning ways on the road.

The match began at quite a pace with both sides touching down inside the opening five minutes.

Samoan winger Sinoti Sinoti Toomaga gave Aironi the perfect start after two minutes as they looked to record a second successive home victory for the first time in their history in the competition.

It did not take long for Cardiff to reply though through Dafydd Hewitt and the boot of fly-half Ceri Sweeney ensured the Blues edged ahead before Chris Czekaj scored his first try of the season to extend their lead further.

Naas Olivier did slot over a 38th minute penalty to reduce the deficit for the Italians but Cardiff took a comfortable looking 20-11 lead into the half-time interval.

Despite being rooted to the bottom of the table, Aironi were in no mood to lie down in front of their home fans and number eight Nick Williams crossed the whitewash in the 51st minute to get them back into the game.

Again the response from the Blues was swift though as Xavier Rush went over two minutes later and Sweeney once more added the conversion to give them an eleven point advantage.

Aironi fought back manfully with tries from Gilberto Pavan and Williams again either side of another Sweeney penalty but they also missed their fifth kick of the afternoon.

Goalkicking was proving the difference as the Italians, trailing by four points, went in search of an historic victory.

Ultimately though, they came up just short as Cardiff full-back Czekaj pounced to score his second try of the game in the final minute, assuring that the Welsh side's unbeaten record against Italian opposition remained intact and catapulting them up to third in the table.

The scorers:

For Aironi:
Tries: Sinoti, Williams 2, Pavan
Pens: Olivier 2

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Hewitt, Czekaj 2, Rush
Cons: Sweeney 4
Pens: Sweeney 3

Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Gilberto Pavan, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Frans Viljoen; 5 George Biagi, 4 Joshua Furno; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria (cap), 1 Matias Aguero
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Josh Sole, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Roberto Quartaroli, 23 Riccardo Pavan.

Cardiff: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Rhys Williams,1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrrell,17 Nathan Trevett. 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Gavin Evans

Venue: Stadio Zaffanella
Referee: Neil Henessey
Assistant Referees: Stefano Traversi, Filippo Bertelli

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1Toulon624
2Cardiff Blues614
3Exeter612
4Glasgow Warriors611