Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons
Wednesday 6th May
Cardiff Arms Park
The last derby match between the Blues and the Dragons at the Arms Park kicked off with the visitors attacking into the home twenty two; however, a big up n under from Ceri Sweeney was gathered superbly by Tom James who sprinted into the Dragons half before the move broke down.
The next Blues move was stopped illegally which lead to Ben Blair converting the resulting penalty to give the home side the early advantage.
The Blues were awarded another penalty soon after when Adam Black came in from the wrong side at the ruck, Black was shown a yellow card for his troubles. Blairs effort hit the crossbar before bouncing over to double the Blues lead.
It wasnt all one-way traffic and the Dragons were also looking to attack, they were winning the battle for territory however errors were allowing the Blues to clear their lines, Jason Tovey gathered and attempted a long drop goal which he converted from a full 45 yards to bring the score to 6 3.
The Blues began putting together some good passages of play and threatened the Dragons try line with Scott Morgan only stopped by a strong Luke Charteris tackle. Shanklin attacked soon after with a fine run down the right wing before the Dragons cleared.
The Dragons were showing attacking intent with the Blues penalized, Connor missed the resulting penalty before they looked to go wide again just outside the Blues twenty two. Connor threw a long pass out to his backs, which was superbly read by Shanklin who intercepted to sprint in under the posts with Blair converting. There was still time in the half for Jason Tovey to convert a simple penalty to bring the score to 13-6.
Half time Cardiff Blues 13 Newport Gwent Dragons 6
Tom James was having a lively match and again showed his pace and power, breaking tackles and gaining ground and with the wind at their backs the Blues were pushing the visitors back in their own half.
Obstruction on Ben Blair, lead to the first score of the second half when Blair kicked the penalty from 45 yards out. The Dragons were putting together some nice moves which lead to a penalty. Substitute James Arlidge converted. However, Blair struck one back almost from the restart after the Dragons were penalized.
The Blues were dealt a blow when Tom James was shown a yellow card for killing the ball and Arlidge converted the simple penalty, however, from the kick off, Dan Lydiate looked to pass out wide to exploit the man advantage when Jamie Robinson cleverly read the move to intercept and score the second Blues try of the night. Blair added converted.
Tom Shanklin looked to be in trouble following a strong run down the right wing. He fell hard in the tackle and the Blues Centre was forced to leave the field with what looked like a serious shoulder injury.
The Blues stayed strong in the final minutes to hold on to an important victory.
Full time Cardiff Blues 26 Newport Gwent Dragons 12
15 Ben Blair (70off) 14 Gareth Thomas (22off) 13 Jamie Robinson 12 Tom Shanklin (76off) 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Richie Rees (66off) 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 T. Rhys Thomas (50off56on) 3 Taufaao Filise (66off) 4 Deiniol Jones 5 Scott Morgan 6 Maama Molitika 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor (c) 8 Andy Powell (60off) 16 John Yapp (66on) 17 Gareth Williams (50on56off76on) 18 Bradley Davies (66on) 19 Xavier Rush (60on66off) 20 Darren Allinson (66on) 21 Nicky Robinson (70on) 22 Richard Mustoe (22on)
Tries Shanklin x 1 J Robinson x 1
Penalties Blair x 4
Cons Blair x 2
Newport Gwent Dragons
Penalties Tovey x 1 Arlidge x 2
D/G Tovey x 1
Yellow Card Tom James