Planet Rugby

Cardiff Blues win thriller

11th April 2008 20:57

Share:

Cardiff Blues recovered from an early onslaught to claim an entertaining 35-26 victory over the Scarlets at Arms Park on Friday.

The Blues' success moves them into second place in the competition after what was a seesaw eight-try thriller, which kept the 10,216 Arms Park crowd warm on a chilly night.

A seventeen-point contribution from Kiwi full-back Ben Blair helped see the Blues home and, if Leinster look to have the title wrapped up, Dai Young's side struck a major blow in the battle to be the top Welsh region.

The Blues, attempting to shrug off last week's Heineken Cup disappointment, showed early willingness to give the ball some air, but were hit by a two-try blitz before the first five minutes had elapsed.

Acting captain Dwayne Peel, in his 50th league match, finished off a move he began and a break by full-back Ceiron Thomas was rounded off by young centre Jon Davies.

Two conversions by Stephen Jones left the Blues stunned and they suffered again in a bad 60 seconds for the Robinson brothers.

A burst by centre Jamie ended with another addition to his long list of injuries, before brother Nicky fumbled a loose ball with the line at his mercy.

Australian centre Marc Stcherbina was the next to knock-on in the Scarlets' 22, but the visitors lost Alix Popham, who was yellow carded for an offence at the resulting scrum, and Blair's penalty put the home side on the board.

Fly-half Robinson then made up for his earlier error, crossing after good work by the evergreen Gareth Thomas. But replacement centre Tom Shanklin and Thomas were both held up over the line as the Blues piled on the pressure.

And they were finally rewarded when scrum-half Jason Spice sent wing Tom James over for his eighth try of the season, with Blair's kick giving the Blues an unexpected interval lead.

James was the Blues' hero again after the break when he set off on a 50-yard gallop through the Scarlets defence and put the supporting Stcherbina under the posts - Blair adding the extras.

The departure of Spice to the sin-bin then offered the Scarlets an opportunity to hit back and they grabbed it, a superb run by replacement full-back Morgan Stoddart preceded Wales' Grand Slam winger Mark Jones flying over.

Within two minutes, the Scarlets were back in the lead, with a bonus point to boot, as Stoddart rounded off a length-of-the-field move which Stephen Jones converted.

Spice never returned from his time out, being replaced by Richie Rees, who immediately made a sniping run which almost reached the whitewash before Mark Jones became the third player carded for preventing an early release - Blair's penalty putting the Blues back in front.

And when Blues' all-action flanker Maama Molitika stole a Ken Owens line-out, which resulted in Blair crossing on the opposite touchline, the Blues also claimed a bonus point.

Nicky Robinson smartly taken drop-goal completed the scoring, rounding off a fine performance in his first start since December, and robbing the visitors of a losing bonus point in a pulsating clash.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:

Tries: Robinson, James, Stcherbina, Blair

Con: Blair 3

Pen: Blair

For Scarlets:

Tries: Peel, Davies, M Jones, Stoddard

Con: S Jones 3

Yellow card: Alix Popham (Scarlets - 22 mins), Jason Spice (Blues - 51 mins), Mark Jones (Scarlets - 64 mins).

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Gareth Thomas, 13 Jamie Robinson, 12 Marc Stcherbina, 11 Tom James, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Jason Spice, 8 Mark Lewis, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Mamma Molitika, 5 Scott Morgan, 4 Deiniol Jones, 3 Gary Powell, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 John Yapp.

Replacements: 16 Taufa'o Filise, 17 Gareth Williams, 18 Paul Tito, 19 Xavier Rush, 20 Richie Rees, 21 Dai Flannigan, 22 Tom Shanklin.

Scarlets: 15 Ceiron Thomas, 14 Dafydd James, 13 Regan King, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Mark Jones, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Dwayne Peel (c), 8 Alix Popham, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Dafydd Jones, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Vernon Cooper, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Iestyn Thomas.

Replacements: 16 Phil John, 17 Mahonri Schwalger, 18 Nathan Thomas, 19 Simon Easterby, 20 Gavin Cattle, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Morgan Stoddart.

Referee: Nigel Owens

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
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
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
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411