Cardiff Blues 62 - 3 Pataro Calvisano
Sat 18 January 13:00 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 5,822 Ref: Nikoloz Amashukeli European Challenge Cup

Cardiff Blues 64 Rugby Calvisano 3

Sat 18 Jan 2020 14:40 Cardiff Blues 64 Rugby Calvisano 3

An emphatic 10-try victory over Calvisano was not enough at the Arms Park as Cardiff Blues bowed out of the European Challenge Cup.

The Blues knew they had to secure a maximum points against the Italian outfit and hope other results went their way.

And although they upheld their side of the bargain with a dominant performance in front of 5,822 supporters, it was not to be as Pau clinched the qualifying spot with a comfortable victory over Leicester Tigers.

Cardiff Blues led 35-3 at half-time thanks to an early Lewis Jones brace and further scores from Ethan Lewis, Aled Summerhill and Olly Robinson.

Shane Lewis-Hughes kept the scoreboard ticking in the second-half with Lloyd Williams and Will Boyde crossing and Lewis Jones completing his hat-trick. Williams broke away to add a second to his name at the death, and take his side's tally past the 60-point mark.

It took just three minutes for the Blues to open the scoring at the Arms Park with Lewis Jones claiming the first try of the afternoon.

The opportunity was created by Dan Fish and Jason Harries on the counter-attack. Fish released Harries and the wing, spotting Lewis Jones on the inside, grubbed infield, taking out the Calvisano wing and full-back, and the scrum-had collected unopposed to dive over.

Tovey slotted the simple conversion before Calvisano responded with a penalty from Nicolò Casilio.

The Blues did not have to wait long for a second try and it was that man Jones again. This time it came from a Shane Lewis-Hughes bust in midfield after he hitting a flat Tovey pass.

He drew Alberto Chiesa and passed to Ethan Lewis. The hooker would have been tempted to pin his ears back and race for the corner but he drew the cover and unselfishly popped the ball inside for Jones to claim a second.

Tovey converted and he was back at the tee on 17 minutes after a powerful driving lineout saw the Blues’ pack rumble over with Ethan Lewis the beneficiary.

Once again Tovey was on target, this time from the touchline, to make it 21-3 and four minutes later it was 26-3.

Jones saw space on the short-side and broke from the back of a ruck, putting Harries away on the right.

The wing scorched down the touchline before returning the ball to Lewis, who then flicked the ball back on the switch.

Calvisano were now at sixes and sevens and the ball was spread to the opposite wing, where there was a three on one overlap, allowing Summerhill an easy finish for the bonus-point try.

Tovey maintained his 100 per cent strike-rate. With a 25-point lead and the bonus-point wrapped up, attention turned to other results, particularly Pau versus Leicester.

With the floodgates open, the tries kept coming with Robinson the next to cross from close-range following a sustained period of pressure. With Tovey converting again to make it 35-3 at the interval.

The second-half continued in the same vein as the first and the Blues claimed their sixth try after less than two minutes.

A rampaging break from hooker Lewis laid the foundations and following a short period of pressure and some neat inter-play Lewis-Hughes crashed over.

Tovey made it 42-3 with the help of the uprights and the tries kept coming with makeshift wing Lloyd Williams the next to put his name on the scoresheet following another strong carry from Garyn Smith.

Finally, Tovey’s flawless kicking display faltered as his touchline conversion fell agonisingly short.

With multiple changes and players out of position, the game lost shape as the second-half progressed but the Blues finished with a flurry.

It came in style as the Blues tore into the Italian 22 and maintained momentum with several outrageous offloads from the likes of Seb Davies and Macauley Cook, more akin to basketball, and the ball was eventually spread to Will Boyde who crashed over.

With five minutes to go a long-distance effort from Liam Belcher and although Dan Fish could not finish, the ball was recycled and Jones completed his hat-trick. Calvisano wing Kayle van Zyl was sent off for a high tackle on full back Fish in the build-up.

With only seconds remaining, scrum half Williams broke from a line-out to run-in from half way, and take the try tally to double figures for the afternoon.