Cardiff Blues 14 - 26 Scarlets
Sat 24 March 18:30 Cardiff City Stadium Att: 8,337 Ref: Nigel Owens Pro12

Cardiff Blues 14 Scarlets 26

Sat 24 Mar 2012 20:55 Cardiff Blues 14 Scarlets 26
Saturday 24 March 6.30pm

A late change to the Blues side saw Blair pull out with flu, Czekaj move to fullback and Henson to the bench. The Scarlets also had a change with Stephen Jones pulling out through illness and Aled Thomas starting at fullback, George North moving to the bench.

It was a passionate encounter from the start with the Blues supporters vocally competing with a strong contingent of travelling Scarlets support off the pitch also.

Both teams were looking to play open rugby in contrast to last Thursday and it was the Scarlets who had the first chance of points, with Aled Thomas hooking a relatively simple penalty wide.

The Blues were looking to off load in the tackle whenever possible to keep the ball alive and always looked to counter attack. Dafydd Hewitt turned the ball over in his own half and released Casey Laulala who went on a 40 yard break, showing great pace and skill to beat the defence all the way into the Scarlets twenty two before being penalised. Although there was no score after 30 minutes it was and entertaining encounter.

Parks also missed a penalty for the Blues and it was the Scarlets who got the first try. Jon Davies had come on for Scott Williams and hacked the ball forwards to the Blues try-line. Cuthbert looked to have the danger covered, but the ball bobbled out of his hands and Andy Fenby fell on it to score. Thomas converted.
The Scarlets nearly scored again in a similar fashion but this time Cuthbert did well to get back and recover the ball for the Blues to clear.

It was a disappointing end to the half for the Blues and there were errors creeping into their game.

Half time Cardiff Blues 0 Scarlets 7

The Blues made a change at half time with Henson coming on for Czekaj at full back.

The Blues gave away another soft try early in the second half. This time Fenby hacked through from the base of a ruck inside the Blues twenty two. Parks looked to clear the danger by hacking the ball into touch, but it bobbled away and Fenby fell picked it up to score his second. Thomas again converted.

The Blues looked to get straight back in it with a sustained period of pressure in the Scarlets twenty two with Navidi and Hewitt coming close after taking quick free kicks. Lamont was yellow carded for deliberate knock on and the Blues looked to run the ball again. However they were driven back and the Scarlets cleared.

The Blues did string a nice move together with Cuthbert, Henson and Hewitt combining well. When the ball was recycled Sweeney looked to put in a chit for Cuthbert to gather but Fenby gathered to clear.

The Blues finally got their breakthrough with and Alex cuthbert try. The Scarlets looked to spread the ball left just on the halfway line but Aled Thomas’s pass was gathered by Cuthbert who sprinted in to score under the posts. Sweeney converted.

It was end to end stuff and next it was the Scarlets scored. Jon Davies did well to take the ball into the Blues twenty two and when it went left Lamont did well to draw the defence and pass back inside to Gareth Davies to score.

The restart bounced back to the Blues and Sweeney broke the line to get the Blues back in the Scarlets twenty two, where they kicked a penalty to the corner. They won clean lineout ball and when it came out to midfield Laulala beat four defenders with an inside jink and then powered over, Sweeny converted.

However, any hope of a Blues fight back soon disappeared when Wales Grand Slam hero George North, who had come onto the pitch five minutes earlier, broke through Cuthbert’s tackle. He then managed to offload in Hewitt’s tackle allowing Dominic Day to run in to score the bonus point try. Thomas again converted to bring the finals score to 14-26.

Cardiff Blues 15. Chris Czekaj (40off) 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Casey Laulala 12. Dafydd Hewitt 11. Tom James 10. Dan Parks (50off) 9. Lloyd Williams (73off)

8. Xavier Rush (c) 7. Josh Navidi 6. Michael Paterson (73off) 5. James Down (53off) 4. Macualey Cook 3. Scott Andrews (73off) 2. Ryan Tyrell (70off) 1. John Yapp (60off)

16. Marc Breeze (70on) 17. Nathan Trevett (73on) 18. Sam Hobbs (60on) 19. Cory Hill (73on) 20. Maama Molitika (53on) 21. Richie Rees (73on) 22. Ceri Sweeney (50on) 23. Gavin Henson (40on)

Scarlets15 Liam Williams, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Gareth Maule (c) 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Gareth Davies,

8 Ben Morgan.7 Johnathan Edwards, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rhodri Jones,

16 Matthew Rees, 17 Phil John, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Kieran Murphy, 21 Liam Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Jon Davies

Cardiff Blues
Tries Cuthbert x 1 Laulala x 1
Con Sweeney x 2

Tries Fenby x 2 G Davies x 1
Con Thomas x 2

Yellow Card: Lamont x 1
Attendance: 8,337