Planet Rugby

Top seeded Blues destroy Calvisano

23rd January 2009 21:42

Share:

Ben Blair

Star man: Blair was in fine kicking form

Cardiff Blues secured the bonus-point victory they required to go into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals as top seeds, breezing past Calvisano 62-20.

But while their record-breaking nine-try victory was predictable against the whipping boys from Italy - Calvisano have not won a match in their last five seasons in the competition - they were made to work by the enthusiastic visitors.

The Blues, however, had the fire-power and the fitness to make sure that last weekend's phenomenal victory at Gloucester was not followed by embarrassment at home.

Full-back Ben Blair, back after a wrist injury, contributed 22 points and claimed the man-of-the-match award.

Calvisano's chances, already slim, were not helped when captain Leonardo Ghiraldini limped off after only seven minutes, yet 60 seconds later the Italians were ahead.

Kiwi fly-half Gerard Fraser charged down opposite number Nicky Robinson's kick and centre Gonzalo Garcia won the race to touchdown. Fraser converted.

The Blues responded with wing Gareth Thomas breaking through two tackles to score a try awarded after consultation with the video referee.

Blair missed the conversion and then conceded an easy penalty which Fraser slotted over, but the New Zealander was soon a hero again.

He fed winger Leigh Halfpenny and took a return pass to race clear to the posts, providing himself with a simple conversion, and then added a penalty to further settle the Arms Park nerves.

Continued home pressure led to a move which spread quickly to the right, where the flying Halfpenny raced over close to the flag, Blair's conversion giving the scoreboard the sort of appearance most had expected.

Xavier Rush replaced Andy Powell at half-time and within three minutes of his arrival he broke from a scrum and strolled over without a hand laid on him to secure the bonus point.

Fraser kicked a penalty for Calvisano, but it was only a brief interruption before a neat cross-kick from Robinson was taken by Gareth Thomas, who handed replacement kicker Rhys Thomas the try.

As both sides rang the changes, the Italians grabbed another breakaway try, from Matteo Pratichetti, but Rhys Thomas stretched over to cancel it over with his second score.

A yellow card for Calvisano prop Gabriel Bocca, who had only just entered the fray, shattered the visitors' spirit and the floodgates opened.

Flankers Martyn Williams and Maama Molitika, with a 50-yard gallop, and wing Gareth Thomas all crossed, sending the Blues past the 56 points they recorded in Italy in October and establishing a new best for the region in this competition.

The Scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:

Tries: G.Thomas 2, Blair, Halfpenny, Rush, TR Thomas 2, M.Williams, Molitika

Cons: Blair 7

Pen: Blair

For Calvisano:

Tries: Gonzalo, Pratichetti

Cons: Fraser 2

Pens: Fraser 2

Yellow card: Bocca (Calvisano, 68th minute - professional foul)

The Teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Gareth Thomas, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Jason Spice, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Martyn Williams (c), 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Scott Morgan, 4 Deiniol Jones, 3 Gary Powell, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: 16 Taufa'ao Filise, 17 T Rhys Thomas, 18 Bradley Davies, 19 Xavier Rush, 20 Darren Allinson, 21 Ceri Sweeney, 22 Jamie Robinson.

Calvisano: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Garcia Gonzalo, 11 Daniele Forcucci, 10 Gerard John Fraser, 9 Pino Patelli, 8 Alessandro Zanni, 7 Aaron Persico, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 Cameron Treloar, 4 Peter Sidoli, 3 Ben Evans, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Alistair McKenzie.

Replacements: 16 Gabriel Bocca, 17 Alejandro Moreno, 18 Luca Beccaris, 19 Matteo Galluppi, 20 Paul Griffen, 21 Nanni Raineri, 22 Luke McLean.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Touch judges: Eric Soulan (France), Jean-Paul Vermande (France)

Television match official: Jean-Christophe Gastou (France)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26