Planet Rugby

Blues struggle past Aironi

07th January 2011 21:15

Share:

Ceri Sweeney cardiff v aironi

Eleven points: Ceri Sweeney

Cardiff Blues were made to work very hard for their 24-13 Magners League win over Aironi at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

The Blues began 2011 with a victory which put them into the Magners League play-off positions - but they struggled to see off the only team in the competition without a win all season.

The New Year's Eve thrills of a two-point triumph over local rivals Ospreys before a Welsh record 22,000-plus crowd were lost in a turgid encounter in which over-confidence seemed the Blues' biggest danger.

After fly-half Ceri Sweeney slotted over a simple early penalty, Wales winger Leigh Halfpenny - making his first start since October - celebrated with an eighth-minute touchdown.

Sweeney's neat grubber kick was intended for the other wideman, Tom James, but, slightly impeded by a lurking defender, James could not gather and the supporting Halfpenny took advantage.

But Sweeney missed the conversion, though he made a better fist of it than Aironi's French full-back, Julien Laharrague, who blazed two penalties way off target.

Their next opportunity saw the Italians go for the corner rather than the posts and they were rewarded when flanker Gareth Krause was driven over and fly-half James Marshall, taking over with the boot, kicked the extras.

After Scottish referee Peter Allen had warned both skippers about repeated infringements, Aironi again attracted his wrath and international hooker Fabio Ongaro saw a yellow card.

Opposite number Rhys Thomas was the immediate beneficiary, boring over from close range for Sweeney to convert.

Marshall missed a kickable penalty just before the break but Paolo Buso, who replaced the hapless Laharrague at half-time, cut the deficit when the Blues managed to concede a penalty against the seven-man scrum.

Buso added another three points while the Blues still concentrated on planting their penalties into the corner, only to squander the resultant openings.

Luckily Buso wasted a long-range chance to put the Italians in front and the Blues, having breathed a sigh of relief, decided to go for goal themselves next time only for Halfpenny to drag it wide.

Sweeney gave them a little breathing space with an easier effort and a drop-goal by the diminutive fly-half made the points secure before an injury-time penalty by late replacement Dan Parks gave the scoreline a flattering look.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Halfpenny, Thomas
Con: Sweeney
Pens: Sweeney 2, Parks
Drop: Sweeney

For Aironi:
Try: Krause
Con: Marshall
Pens: Buso 2

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Tom Slater, 8 Tom Brown, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Andries Pretorius, 5 Paul Tito (capt), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 John Yapp, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Gareth Williams, 17 Scott Andrews, 18 Sam Hobbs, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Martyn Williams, 21 Rhys Downes, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.

Aironi: 15 Julien Laharrague, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Rodd Penney, 12 Gilberto Pavan, 11 Matteo Pratichetti, 10 James Marshall, 9 Pablo Canavosio, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Gareth Krause, 6 Simone Favaro, 4 Joshua Furno, 5 Carlo Del Fava (capt), 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Luigi Ferraro, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Josh Sole, 21 Michael Wilson, 22 Gabriel Pizarro, 23 Paolo Buso.

Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Sunday , November 23
Georgia vs JapanGeorgia vs Japan Preview
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter828
2Bath828
3Northampton726
4Saracens724
5Wasps820