Cardiff Blues 38 - 21 Ospreys
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Fri 12 February 14:30 Cardiff Arms Park Friendly

Cardiff Blues 38 Ospreys 21

Fri 12 Feb 2021 16:19 Cardiff Blues 38 Ospreys 21

In a game of comebacks at the Arms Park, Cardiff Blues ticked all the boxes as they eased to a six-try victory over the Ospreys.

The Capital City outfit never looked in doubt on a bitterly cold afternoon at the iconic ground, staging a fixture for the first time in almost a year.

Dai Young returned to the Arms Park for the first time since May 2009, as the Blues warmed up for a crucial block of Guinness Pro14 fixtures.

The interim director of rugby used the encounter as an opportunity to view his wider squad and give those returning from injury valuable game-time, most notably Ellis Jenkins.

Jenkins, the club captain, had been sidelined since producing an outstanding man-of-the-match performance in Wales’ November 2018, victory over South Africa. 

The eye-catching performance ended with the open side stretchered off after the last play following a significant knee injury. 

But some 27 months later, and following several bumps in the road, the Arms Park favourite returned and he was joined in the starting line-up by fellow Wales international, Owen Lane, who made his own comeback.

And both players had comebacks to remember, as the duo joined brace-scorer Aled Summerhill on the scoresheet to cap off an impressive first half from the hosts.

Cardiff made an impressive start to the encounter with Owen Lane lively and cult hero Dan Fish displaying his class and experience as a second receiver and with his cultured left boot.

The Ospreys went to the air more often and tried to pin the capital city outfit into their own half but it was the home side that quickly took control of the encounter.

Shortly after the 10 minute mark, using his midfield as decoys, Jason Tovey fired a long pass to Fish on the arc and he drew the last man to put Summerhill over for the first try at the iconic ground in almost a year.

Tovey was unable to add the conversion but the try had given Cardiff Blues the early advantage and there was a sight to behold on 15 minutes.

With the Ospreys pressing for the first time, and advancing to the Blues’ line, Jenkins turned back the clock like he had barely been away as he pounced for a vital turnover.

Five minutes later, Young’s charges extended their lead as Mason Grady demonstrated his pace and power as he burst through the Ospreys midfield and put Summerhill away once more. 

Tovey made no mistake from wide on this occasion to give his side a commanding 12-0 lead.

The Ospreys hit back on 23 minutes as Callum Carson sliced through from close range with Luke Price added the extras.

Both sides continued to threaten, with Cardiff getting the better of their opponents and just three minutes later they struck with a crucial try.

Cardiff clearly came with the intention of sharpening their attacking arsenal as they went coast to coast on numerous occasions and it paid off once more as Fish gave Lane a sniff and the fired up wing needed no second invitation as he finished expertly.

Tovey kept the scoreboard ticking and the points kept on coming, this time via the Ospreys, who responded through Matthew Aubrey. Price made it 19-14, with 10 minutes of the half remaining.

Young had said in the week that he just wanted to see Jenkins smiling as he walked off the field but he was positively beaming as he capped his pleasing long-awaited comeback with a try.

Summerhill, who had already bagged a pair of tries, did the damage down the left and while his pass inside was deflected by an Ospreys hand, Mason Grady hacked ahead. 

And who else would be on hand to dot down in disbelief but Jenkins? It capped a reassuring comeback for the flanker and received audible applause from the lucky few watching on from the Westgate Street flats.

Tovey slotted the simple conversion to give Cardiff Blues a deserved 26-14 lead at the interval.

The Ospreys hit back through Dewi Lake to give themselves a glimmer of hope but just minutes later, his opposite number Iestyn Harris burrowed over in similar fashion.

With Grady ripping into his brother’s side with some devastating carrying, the platform was laid for a sixth try. It came from a set-piece play with Harri Millard hitting a flat ball at pace, on an inside line and powering over.

Cardiff Blues' Guinness PRO14 campaign returns next week as Young's side travel to Galway to take on Conference B rivals, Connacht.