Cardiff Blues 56 - 8 Benetton Rugby
Fri 25 March 19:05 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 5,258 Ref: Andy Brace Guinness Pro12

Cardiff Blues 56 Benetton Treviso 8

Fri 25 Mar 2016 21:00 Cardiff Blues 56 Benetton Treviso 8
Cardiff Blues had narrowly lost the reverse fixture when the two teams met in Italy last month.

But there was to be no repeat in the game in the Welsh capital as the home side dominated for long periods and wrapped up maximum points before the hour mark.

Back row partners Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi grabbed first half tries as the hosts opened up a 17-3 lead on Good Friday.

Samoa star Rey Lee-Lo that got his first Cardiff Blues try early in the second half score before hooker Kristian Dacey dived over for the extra point.

Italian international Manoa Vosawai grabbed a fifth home score before top try scorer Tom James, Dan Fish and Rhys Patchell got in on then act late on.

Head Coach Danny Wilson made seven changes for the clash with Welsh international quartet Gareth Anscombe, Tom James, Sam Warburton and captain Gethin Jenkins all returning to the starting line-up.

Josh Turnbull was named in the second row and made his 50th appearance for Cardiff Blues.

The returning Filo Paulo was busy into the opening minutes before a huge tackle from Navidi drew gasps from the crowd and Gethin Jenkins picked up the loose ball as the home side looked to free Patchell down the left wing.

A bustling run from Dillon Lewis freed Warburton who charged down field and then chipped ahead before just failing to win the race to the ball. Seconds later Williams put a neat grubber kick in but Fish just knocked on as he looked to gather.

A try looked inevitable and came on eight minutes when a massive scrum won a penalty on Treviso ball and from the resulting lineout the home pack mauled over and back row Jenkins touched down for a 7-0 lead.

Treviso responded with a penalty from full back Jayden Hayward, after the home side were penalised for not binding at the scrum, only to concede one back moments later from the accurate boot of Anscombe.

Dangerous visiting runner Hayward sparked another attack as he freed his arms and popped a pass to Sam Christie, but his ball wide to Angelo Esposito was knocked on as Tom James looked to land a tackle.

Centre partners Garyn Smith and Lee-Lo combined down the left to spark a quick attack to stretch the Italians.

A sublime break down the middle from Williams, after an injection of pace around the fringes, and long floated pass to Fish forced Treviso back and won a penalty. But this time the lineout was sacked short and Treviso won a penalty of their own inches from the line.

Pressure finally told when a series of powerful runs, with James central twice before Lee-Lo burst a hole, broke up the Italian rearguard and Navidi ploughed over out wide before Anscombe converted for a 17-3 lead at half-time.

Cardiff Blues struck two minutes after the break as Turnbull made big yards down the right and then, when it came back left at pace, it was centre Lee-Lo who cut back against the grain to dart over for a third home try.

The home side were now turning the screw as wave after wave of attack rained down on a tiring Treviso side that was having to defend for long spells.

A series of lineout drives bore no reward as the Italians held firm, even after a stern lecture from referee Andrew Brace to stop conceding penalties. But when a visiting scrum was hauled backwards it was hooker Dacey who
picked up and dived over bodies to score.

The battling Italians showed heart as back row Marco Lazzaroni dotted down wide right after some slick hands and direct running.

Anscombe nudged Cardiff Blues further ahead with a well-struck penalty before the home side looked to open up and go through the gears.

Anscombe then produced a beautiful chip ahead and collected a full pace before flipping a pass back into Vosawai. But under pressure the back row spilled forward as he looked for the line.

However, there was no stopping him two minutes later when a powerful lineout drive was touched down by the Italian international against his countrymen.

Wing James got his name on the scoresheet after a break from Fish sent him over for his ninth of the season before Fish sprinted over from long-range for special solo effort.

And the final word went to Patchell who gathered a neat offload from Jarrod Evans and brought up the half-century.
08m E. Jenkins t Anscombe c 7-0
14m Hayward p 7-3
17m Anscombe p 10-3
32m Navidi t Anscombe c 17-3
42m Lee-Lo t 22-3
55m Dacey t 27-3
62m Lazzaroni t 27-8
64m Anscombe p 30-8
71m Vosawai t Anscombe c 37-8
74m James t J Evans c 44-8
78m Fish t 49-8
79m Patchell t J Evans c 56-8
Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Dan Fish, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo (Summerhill 70), 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams (Jones 67); 1 Gethin Jenkins (Thyer 63), 2 Kristian Dacey (Rees 63), 3 Dillon Lewis (Andrews 70), 4 Josh Turnbull, 5 James Down, 6 Ellis Jenkins (Hoeata 57), 7 Sam Warburton (Vosawai 67), 8 Josh Navidi

Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Aled Summerhill