Cardiff Blues dominate Zebre

Date published: September 7 2014

A 21-point haul from Rhys Patchell guided Cardiff Blues to a 41-26 victory over Zebre in Parma on Sunday.

A 21-point haul from Rhys Patchell guided Cardiff Blues to a 41-26 victory over Zebre in Parma on Sunday.

Cardiff controlled the opening quarter and eased into a 14-3 lead through tries from Patchell and Lloyd Williams. Although the Italian outfit hit back with Brendan Leonard and Filippo Ferrarini going over, Patchell's three-pointer restored the visitors' advantage at the break.

Zebre scored early in the second period through Dion Berryman, but Dan Fish and Alex Cuthbert touchdowns took the Blues clear.

Despite Kelly Haimona kicking successive three-pointers, Kristian Dacey's try rubberstamped the win. Since their inception, Zebre have finished bottom of the Pro12 over the last two years.

However, they showed a significant improvement in 2013/14 by winning five of their league matches. The first of those came against the Cardiff Blues and they were looking to repeat the feat on the opening weekend of the season. ]

But it was the visitors that started the brighter and went into an early 7-0 lead when Patchell finished off a superb long-range move. Zebre were handed a boost from the restart when Filo Paulo was sin-binned and Luciano Orquera reduced the deficit from the tee.

Yet it was Cardiff who continued to carve out the better chances and their stand-off was once again the instigator as his break led to Williams' try.

Leonard showed impressive pace and awareness to score and bring the hosts to within seven points before Ferrarini crossed the whitewash following a dominant driving maul.

All of a sudden, the Italians were in the lead for the first time, but Patchell's monster 60-metre penalty on the stroke of half-time regained the visitors' advantage at the interval.

The second period proved to be similarly frenetic and a well worked set-piece move sent Berryman over unopposed. But the Welsh region weren't finished and a quick-fire double from Fish and Cuthbert opened up an 11-point gap with half-an-hour to go.

Haimona's two three-pointers kept Zebre in contention and Gareth Davies' yellow card gave them further hope, but Dacey's try and Patchell's penalty sealed the win for Cardiff.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries: Leonard, Ferrarini, Berryman
Con: Orquera
Pens: Orquera, Haimona 2

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Patchell, Williams, Fish, Cuthbert, Dacey
Cons: Patchell 5
Pen: Patchell 2

Zebre: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Dion Berryman, 13 Mirco Bergamasco, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 George Biagi, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luciano Leibson, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Kelly Haimona, 23 Edoardo Padovani.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Owen Jenkins, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Manoa Vosawai 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)