Cardiff Blues moved up to third in the Magners League standings on Thursday with a 29-9 over Treviso at Cardiff City Stadium.
The Blues moved closer to a place in the play-offs thanks to a penalty try and another score by number eight Xavier Rush, plus 19 points from fly-half Dan Parks.
A bonus-point victory with a winning a margin of at least 18 could have seen them leapfrog Leinster into second. But a resilient Teviso, who defended stoutly throughout, denied them the four tries they needed and the Italian side were rewarded with three penalties from fly-half Willem De Waal.
De Waal opened the scoring early on with a penalty before Parks levelled for Cardiff with one of his own. The hosts' stand-off then converted two more opportunities to bring the score to 9-3 after 10 minutes.
However, the Blues were lethargic throughout the first period and a mistake by Martyn Williams allowed De Waal to reduce the arrears. Italian international flanker Alessandro Zanni was then sin-binned for the visitors and Parks kicked the resultant penalty.
Down to 14 and under pressure in the scrum, substitute prop Michele Rizzo was also yellow-carded to leave Treviso briefly with 13 men on the field. And Cardiff took advantage when referee Neil Paterson awarded a penalty try before De Waal scored another penalty to leave Cardiff 19-9 up at the break.
The Blues looked to increase the tempo in the second half and were duly rewarded when Parks slotted his fifth penalty after 51 minutes.
Rush went over from a driving maul late on and substitute Robert Barbieri became the third Treviso player to be sin-binned to help ease Cardiff to victory.
Tries: Penalty try, Rush
Cons: Parks 2
Pens: Parks 5
Pens: De Waal 3
Yellow cards: Zanni (Treviso - 28th min); Rizzo (Treviso - 34th min); Barbieri (Treviso - 79th min)
Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Ma'ama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Michael Paterson, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.
Treviso: 15 Joseph Maddock, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Ezio Galon, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Willem De Waal, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Paul Derbyshire, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Valerio Bernaḅ, 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Augusto Allori.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 19 Benjamin Vermaak, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Andrew Vilk, 23 Luke McLean.
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Neil Paterson