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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411