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Halfpenny boots Blues past Dragons

01st January 2014 15:52

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Cardiff Blues claimed a much-needed 21-13 victory over the Dragons in their RaboDirect PRO12 derby clash at the Arms Park on Wednesday.

Penalties by Rhys Patchell and Leigh Halfpenny, who scored fifteen points, gave Cardiff a 9-0 lead before a Will Harries converted try and Jason Tovey's three-pointer took the Dragons ahead.

Tovey added a second effort in the second half, but three more penalties by the hosts' full-back and a Gareth Davies drop-goal sealed the win.

The Blues were looking for revenge following their 22-16 defeat on Boxing Day, and they got off to the perfect start when Patchell kicked a penalty.

Although the visitors went through a number of phases, it was the home side that continued to look the more threatening with ball in hand. They were rewarded for their territorial dominance when Halfpenny extended their advantage.

Cardiff's full-back then added his second as they opened up a deserved 9-0 lead after 28 minutes, before the Dragons mounted their first serious attack. It ended in a try for winger Harries following a scything break and off-load by Dan Evans. Tovey converted and, with the half nearing its conclusion, kicked a three-pointer to take the Dragons 10-9 ahead at the interval.

The away side built on the momentum garnered from the end of the opening period by controlling the initial stages of the second 40.

Just a minute had elapsed when Tovey kicked a penalty, but Halfpenny responded for the Blues with one of his own to leave the match finely poised with half-an-hour remaining.

And after the Dragons had once again infringed, the hosts' full-back restored their lead with his fourth effort from the tee.

Davies' drop-goal then sailed between the uprights before Halfpenny made the victory safe through another three-pointer.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Pen: Patchell, Halfpenny 5
Drop: Davies

For Dragons:
Tries: Harries
Con: Tovey
Pen: Tovey 2

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Rory Watts-Jones, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Macauley Cook, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Sam Hobbs (c).
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Chris Dicomidis, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Gavin Evans.

Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Matthew Pewtner, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Netani Talei, 5 Rob Sidoli (c), 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Dan Way, 2 T.Rhys Thomas, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Francisco Chaparro, 19 Adam Jones, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Ross Wardle.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
Television match official: Paul Adams (Wales)

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