Cardiff Blues 10 Scarlets 16
Friday 22 October 8.05pm
The Welsh Guards lead out both teams for the Welsh derby and there was a real buzz about the Cardiff City Stadium ahead of kick off.
Early on Sweeney was just wide with a penalty effort but Priestland converted his effort to give the Scarlets the lead.
It was a full blooded affair and a superb drive by the Blues pack saw them move into the Scarlets twenty two, before Rush peeled off and continued the move, which resulted in a penalty and Sweeney was accurate this time to level the scores.
The Blues seemed to be dominating and Tom James carried the ball strongly up the left with Stoddart receiving a yellow card and sent to the bin for 10 minutes and James leaving the field injured. The Blues built steadily from the penalty before some great hands by Rees saw Sweeney run in unopposed under the posts and then convert his try.
Fly half Priestland slotted another penalty and was just wide with a huge effort from his own half. The Scarlets came close to scoring following a turnover and then a break and kick ahead from Stoddart, who had returned to the pitch, down the right. Richie Rees put in a superb try line tackle and Iestyn Thomas knocked the ball on as he went to touch down.
Priestland slotted another penalty to narrow the scoreline to just one point in an entertaining half. Late on Richie Rees was sent to the bin for what was deemed to be a deliberate knock on but Priestland missed the simple penalty. However, he made amends with a good break in the Blues twenty two but the Scarlets again knocked on as they looked to cross the tryline and ht eBlues were let off.
Half time Cardiff Blues 10 Scarlets 9
With a man advantage the Scarlets started strongly with King nearly releasing Lamont down the left to score. The Blues were using up all their subs, with Mustoe on for Halfpenny, who in turn was forced to leave with a blood injury and Lloyd Williams coming on to play wing.
The Blues were again not playing to their best and with only a point margin it was a tense affair and the match could go either way. The Blues nearly scored when Tito did well to put pressure on Daniel Evans, the young full back lost the ball, and Tito passed to Laulala who nearly released Rees, only for Stoddart to intercept.
The game was to turn when the Scarlets took the lead from a deft kick by Stephen Jones, who had come on 10 minutes earlier. Receiving the ball from the scrum, the Lions fly half put in a neat cross field kick that Lamont tapped down to the oncoming Rhys Priestland to gather and sprint in. Jones converted.
Priestland was wide with another long range effort and with less than ten minutes left the Blues were still 6 points behind and despite a late rally the men from Llanelli hung on to the lead and probably deserved the victory.
It was night to forget for the Blues who didn’t seem to be functioning in October.
Cardiff Blues 15 Chris Czekaj 14 Leigh Halfpenny (40off) 13 Casey Laulala 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Tom James (24off) 10 Ceri Sweeny 9 Richie Rees (73off)
8 Xavier Rush (c) 7 Sam Warburton 6 Andries Pretorius (67off) 5 Michael Paterson (55off) 4 Bradley Davies 3 Scott Andrews (55off) 2 T. Rhys Thomas (63off) 1 Gethin Jenkins
16 Rhys Williams (63on) 17 John Yapp 18 Taufa’ao Fillise (55on) 19 Paul Tito (55on) 20 Maama Molitika (67on) 21 Lloyd Williams (73on) 22 Gavin Evans (40on) 23 Richard Mustoe (24on)
Scarlets 15 Daniel Evans 14 Morgan Stoddart 13 Regan King 12 Gareth Maule 11 Sean Lamont (C) 10 Rhys Priestland 9 Tavis Knoyle
8 Ben Morgan 25 Josh Turnbull 6 Rob McCusker 5 Damian Welch 4 Lou Reed 3 Deacon Manu 2 Ken Owens 1 Iestyn Thomas
16 Matthew Rees 17 Rhodri Jones 18 Peter Edwards 19 Dominic Day 20 Richie Pugh 21 Martin Roberts 22 Stephen Jones 23 Scott Williams
Tries Sweeney x 1
Pen Sweeney x 1
Con Sweeney x 1
Tries Priestland x 1
Pen Priestland x 3
Con Jones x 1
Referee: Tim Hayes
Yellow Card: Andries Pretorius, Morgan Stoddard, Richie Rees