Dan Parks kicked off and it was a high tempo match from the start. The Blues worked the phases well carrying the ball into the Irish twenty two before being awarded a penalty that Parks converted. They kicked the next penalty to the corner and Tito won the ball cleanly and the Blues put the shove on, with T Rhys Thomas forcing his way over for the opening try of the night, with Parks again converting.
Parks was again having a great game dictating play with clever kicks to the corner keeping Irish pinned back. The Blues nearly scored again with Czekaj linking up with Tom James who showed quick hands to pass on to Cuthbert who unluckily knocked on when only five metres out.
Irish were down to fourteen men in the 20th minute when ‘Shingler’s lift’ would prove costly and he was shown red card for a tip tackle on Dafydd Hewitt. However, they got on the scoreboard with a 25th minute penalty from Tom Homer.
Parks got his second penalty with a simple effort in front of the posts after the Blues had disrupted an Irish scrum inside their twenty two.
Despite the man disadvantage Irish were still competitive and worked their way into the Blues twenty two with Daf Hewitt doing well to track back, however, the Blues were penalised and Homer added his second goal. He added the third just before half time to bring the score to 13-9 but there was just enough time for a second Blues try.
From the restart Paterson gathered and from a ruck just outside the Irish twenty two Lloyd Williams picked up and rounded the defence to score in the corner. Parks was just wide with the touchline conversion.
Half time Cardiff Blues 18 London Irish 9
Lloyd Williams continued his outstanding form in the second half, proving a handful around the fringes of the ruck and forcing his way into the Irish twenty two and winning the Blues a penalty. They kicked to the corner, however, they failed to capitalise this time.
Cuthbert showed his pace, gaining 60 metres up field with a strong run back into the Irish twenty two and the Blues could have scored again if they’d used the overlap on the right. They eventually won a penalty and Parks was again accurate before Homer struck one back with a long distance effort.
The Blues weren’t putting the game to bed and Irish narrowed the margin with another Homer penalty and it was the visitors who were playing most of the rugby in the final quarter.
Parks slotted another penalty for the Blues following a good run by Hewitt into the Irish twenty two before Homer narrowed the deficit to 6 points with 5 minutes left, but the Blues hung on for the victory.
CardiffBlues 15 Chris Czekaj 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Casey Laulala (60off) 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Tom James 10 Dan Parks 9 Lloyd Williams (60off)
8 Xavier Rush (21off) 7 Sam Warburton 6 Michael Paterson 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Bradley Davies 3 Taufa'ao Filise (61off) 2 T Rhys Thomas (71off) 1 Gethin Jenkins
16 Marc Breeze (71on) 17 John Yapp 18 Scott Andrews (61on) 19 Maama Molitika (21on) 20 Josh Navidi 21 Richie Rees (60on) 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Gavin Evans (60on)
LondonIrish 15 Tom Homer 14 Topsy Ojo 13 Joe Ansbro 12 Steve Shingler 11 Adam Thompstone 10 Dan Bowden 9 Ross Samson
1 Clarke Dermody (C) 2 David Paice 3 Faan Rautenbach 4 Nick Kennedy 5 Matt Garvey 6 Declan Danaher 7 Richard Thorpe 8 Jebb Sinclair
16 James Buckland 17 Alex Corbisiero 18 Paulica Ion 19 James Sandford 20 Jamie Gibson 21 Jonathan Spratt 22 Adrian Jarvis 23 Paul Hodgson
Tries Thomas x 1 Williams x 1
Pen Parks x 3
Con Parks x 1
Pen Homer x 6
Red Card: Shingler