Planet Rugby

Blues sneak past Edinburgh

09th October 2010 19:50

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Casey Laulala Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh

Pure class: Casey Laulala scored for Cardiff

Cardiff Blues managed to hang on for an 18-17 Heineken Cup win at home on Saturday despite a strong finish by Edinburgh in a ding-dong battle.

The Welsh region, considered among the favourites for this year's competition after winning the Amlin Cup last season, will need to show significant improvement on this performance to be considered contenders.

They will also need fly-half Dan Parks to do better with the boot after he missed five of his eight kicks at goal.

With the Blues having early problems at the scrum, Chris Paterson popped over a penalty to put the visitors ahead, while fellow Scot Parks spurned three attempts to draw level, although two were from near halfway.

The Welsh region then gifted Edinburgh a try. Hooker Rhys Thomas overshot his jumpers at a lineout in the Blues' 22, the ball fell to scrum-half Mike Blair and prop Allan Jacobsen was driven over. Paterson converted.

The Blues struck back with a gallop with the ball hungry Leigh Halfpenny, but Blair's desperate ankle tap was enough to force the flying winger into touch.

As the home side began to find some rhythm, veteran flanker Martyn Williams tore into the Scottish 22 only for the visitors to present quick recycling. Paterson was yellow-carded and Parks finally found the target.

While Edinburgh were still a man short, Blues' in-form centre Casey Laulala shimmied through a half-gap and fed fellow Kiwi Paul Tito, who put Chris Czekaj in for a try, which Parks converted, and the fly-half punished a further offence to put the Blues ahead at the break.

The Scots began the second period at a high tempo and the Blues were penned in their own half for a full 10 minutes until a kick-and-chase by Czekaj took play to the other end, where Parks missed a hurried drop-goal attempt.

The fly-half recruited from Glasgow in the summer, largely for his kicking prowess, then squandered another penalty.

Some strange decisions by the French officials irritated the 10,000-plus Cardiff crowd, but they were soon in happier mood when the Blues' forward, with hooker Thomas prominent, took the ball upfield and it was eventually spread wide for Halfpenny to set off towards the flag.

The wing was tackled, but managed to offload the ball for Laulala to score.

Edinburgh bounced back immediately, however, and although David Blair was held up just short, the Scots were able to utilise an overlap on the right for Ben Cairns to score, Paterson adding the extras to cut the deficit to a single point.

But the Blues were able to hold out for the remaining seven minutes.

The scorers:

For Cardiff:
Tries: Czekaj, Laulala
Cons: Parks
Pens: Parks 2

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Jacobsen, Cairns
Cons: Paterson 2
Pens: Paterson

Yellow card: Paterson (Edinburgh - 27th min)

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Tom Shanklin, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 John Yapp, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Dafydd Hewitt

Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Jim Thompson, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Alex Grove, 11 Tim Visser, 10 David Blair, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Roddy Grant, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alan MacDonald, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen
Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Davey Young, 19 Craig Hamilton, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 James King, 23 Mark Robertson

Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Romain Poite

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