Cardiff Blues 14 - 6 Sale Sharks
Sun 17 December 15:15 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 4,974 Ref: Thomas Charabas European Challenge Cup

Cardiff Blues 14 Sale Sharks 6

Sun 17 Dec 2017 17:11 Cardiff Blues 14 Sale Sharks 6
Playing into driving wind and rain, the Blues went into the interval 3-3 with Gareth Anscombe and Will Cliff exchanging penalties.
However, Morgan crossed early in the second-half and Anscombe kept the scoreboard ticking to avenge last week’s disappointing defeat in the North-West and stretch their lead at the top of the pool to four points.
The Blues are next in European action when they host former four-time Heineken Cup champions at Toulouse at the Arms Park in January.
Cardiff Blues were dealt a blow ahead of kick-off after Gethin Jenkins, who was set to make his comeback, failed a fitness test.
The club captain was replaced in the starting line-up by Brad Thyer, with Matthew Rees taking on the leadership duties.
The Blues made a bright start to the encounter with Tomos Williams and namesake Nick Williams looking particularly lively.
They were rewarded for their early attacking endeavour with a Gareth Anscombe penalty on 10 minutes.
It was soon Sale that threatened with Denny Solomona scything through the middle. Scrum-half Williams saved the day with a superb covering tackle and two phases later he won a turnover.
However, Sale had the advantage and Will Cliff levelled the scores at 3-3.

A harsh call from referee Thomas Charabas, when Gareth Anscombe fumbled a long kick, gave the visitors a perfect attacking platform from a scrum.
The set-piece was 10 metres from the try-line and held firm but Josh Strauss knocked on at the base and from the ensuing scrum Nick Williams went on the rampage.
He burst through Strauss and then took on three more defenders to fire up his troops. Minutes later, following a scrappy period of play, it was Seb Davies’ turn.
He hit a fine line to break through and following a Willis Halaholo-esque hitch-kick he appeared destined for the whitewash. However, with two defenders on his back the slippery ball squirted out of his grasp and the opportunity was lost.
With a strong wind at their backs and 50-50 decisions going their way, the Sharks set up camp deep into Cardiff territory mid-way through the half but they were met by a resolute defence and both Macauley Cook and Damian Welch forced mistakes at the lineout.
The home’s scrum was equally impressive, as they forced a number of penalties but the driving wind ensured they enjoyed little territory.
Cliff had the chance to nudge his side into the lead with the final kick of the half but he fired wide.
With the wind now at their backs, the Blues had the advantage and they pinned the visitors back and following a sustained period of pressure they claimed the game’s opening try.
A moment of Morgan magic paved the way for the score as he eased around the Sale defence and found Cook with a long pass.
Several phases later he was on hand to collect the scoring pass from Anscombe to make it 8-3. Anscombe was unable to add the extras but minutes later he bisected the posts from wide after Sale infringed at a driving maul.
Cliff hit-back on 65 minutes with his second penalty and the visitors were soon back on the attack with Mike Haley, Rohan van Rensburg and Josh Charnley combining on the counter-attack.
Only some fine covering defence from Owen Lane and Rey Lee-Lo stopped Sale scoring and despite winning a superb turnover two minutes later, Williams’ clearance went dead from inside his own 22.

Anscombe added a late penalty to give his side breathing space going into the final minutes.