Cardiff Blues keep hopes alive

Date published: April 17 2016

Cardiff Blues kept their hopes alive of finishing in the top six on the table after beating the Dragons 28-8 at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.

Cardiff Blues kept their hopes alive of finishing in the top six on the table after beating the Dragons 28-8 at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.

Josh Turnbull struck the first try of the game before the Dragons hit back through Sarel Pretorious. Rey Lee-Lo struck next though for Blues and the second 40 produced few moments to cause either defence problems, until a final minute try from Gareth Anscombe kept the hopes of a top six spot alive. 

Looking to continue their hopes for a top six finish at Arms Park, Cardiff started tremendously and put the first try on the board after only eight minutes. 

Lloyd Williams quick free-kick caught the Dragons napping, allowing the forwards to drive it up towards the line, before feeding Josh Turnbull who forced his way through. 

Gareth Anscombe, a part of the build-up, missed the chance to add the extras. He didn't miss his next opportunity though, making no mistake from right in front of the posts to create an eight point lead after 13 minutes. 

Dragons struck back soon after though and got their first points of the game courtesy of Dorian Jones neat penalty. Blues were in charge early on in proceedings and asking real questions of the Dragons defence. They were being held up well though, although another penalty from Ascombe took Blues to double figures. 

And that crucial defending became even more important when dragons stormed into the game with a try. A driving maul was formed and as it bore down on the line, Sarel Pretorious touched down. That was his last action for a while though, because almost immediately after he was issued with a yellow.
Rhys Patchell's attempt to start a quick break was halted by the hand of Pretorious, with referee Peter Fitzgibbon deeming it a deliberate knock-on.

One minute after, the extra man told. Anscombe's chip over the top was picked up on by Rey Lee-Lo, the centre going through the sticks. Anscombe converted and the Blues went in 18-8 to the good. 

Anscombe continued his fine kicking early in the second, firing through from 35 yards to add to the scoreline. In truth though, the second 40 was nowhere near as frantic as the first. 

Pretorious was at the heart of all the decent Dragons attacks, being held up right on the line by Turnbull at one instance, before seeing possession turned over. The next attack saw Blues defend as a group, and an increasingly agitated visiting side eventually knocked on to kill the attack. 

Josh Navidi almost sealed the points at the other end, but he was spun out metres from the line to relieve what would have been a game-sealer. But the hosts did find another try in the final minute, with Anscombe deservedly getting his name on the scoresheet. 

Harri Millard's initial sprint down the wing fed the ball over to Turnbull, and it ended with Anscombe going over, with the conversion sealing a 28-8 victory.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Turnbull, Lee-Lo, Anscombe
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 3

For Dragons:
Pen: Jones
Yellow card: Pretorius

Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Dan Fish, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 5 James Down, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c)
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Manoa Vosawai, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Harri Millard, 23 Aled Summerhill

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans (c), 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Rynard Landman, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Ed Jackson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Angus O'Brien, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Leighton Hodges (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)