Planet Rugby

Blues go top as the Dragons fold

01st May 2007 20:53

Share:

Mike Phillips Cardiff

Brace Yourself: Mike Phillips notched up two tries for Cardiff

Cardiff Blues charged to the top of the Magners League courtesy of a a solid if workmanlike 31-20 victory over the Dragons at the Arms Park on Tuesday.

The result leaves the Blues two points clear of Leinster, with the Irish province ending the season at the Arms Park on Friday week.

But the title favourites are still the Ospreys, now four points adrift, but with a game in hand on their fellow Welshmen and Leinster.

The Dragons, with the evening sun behind them, applied the early pressure, but a handling error allowed the Blues to take the lead. Outstanding scrum-half Mike Phillips snatched up a loose ball near the centre spot, broke a tackle and raced under the posts for Ben Blair to convert.

Visiting fly-half Ceri Sweeney, who had looked bemused when an earlier penalty was adjudged to have curled wide, made no mistake with a second attempt after the Blues strayed offside.

Blair cancelled it out with a penalty of his own after the Blues had pushed the Dragons off the ball at a scrum and their forward power proved decisive in their second try.

The Dragons survived a driving line-out, but only at the expense of a yellow card for flanker Jamie Ringer - his second in four days - and when the Blues opted for a scrum instead of a kick an inside pass from Phillips sent number eight Xavier Rush over, and Blair added the extras.

Dragons coach Paul Turner had promised they would be party-poopers and they showed their mettle in the opening minutes of the second period with a Sweeney break allowing dangerous winger Richard Fussell to send flanker Joe Bearman in for Sweeney to add the extras.

But another Phillips gallop from a Blues turnover saw him combine with Robin Sowden-Taylor for Tom Shanklin to run a superb angle and score. Blair's kick restored the 14-point margin.

A Sweeney penalty kept the Dragons interested, but the Blues secured their bonus point when Phillips wriggled his way over, the try being awarded on the say-so of a touch judge. Blair again converted.

A 70-yard breakaway try by centre Gareth Maule, improved by Sweeney, caused a few flutters among the more nervous members of the 9,326 crowd, but the Blues were able to hold out without further difficulty.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:

Tries: Phillips 2, Rush, Shanklin

Cons: Blair 4

Pen: Blair

For The Dragons:

Tries: Bearman, Maule

Cons: Sweeney 2

Pens: Sweeney 2

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Rhys Williams, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Marc Stcherbina, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Xavier Rush (c), 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor, 6 Scott Morgan, 5 Robert Sidoli, 4 Deiniol Jones, 3 Gary Powell, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: 16 Scott Roberts, 17 T Rhys Thomas, 18 Bradley Davies, 19 Mark Lewis, 20 Martyn Williams, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Jamie Robinson.

The Dragons: 15 Kevin Morgan (c), 14 Gareth Wyatt, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Richard Fussell, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Jamie Ringer, 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Andrew Hall, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Ben Daly, 1 Dai Maddocks.

Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Adam Black, 18 Ian Gough, 19 Dan Lydiatt, 20 Martin Thomas, 21 Aled Thomas, 22 Alex Walker.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615