Cardiff Blues 26 - 19 Southern Kings
HT 7-7
Sat 02 March 19:35 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 5,312 Ref: Joy Neville Guinness PRO14

Cardiff Blues 26 Isuzu Southern Kings 19

Sat 2 Mar 2019 21:30 Cardiff Blues 26 Isuzu Southern Kings 19

Cardiff Blues battled to a scrappy bonus-point win over Southern Kings in difficult conditions at the Arms Park.

In an encounter littered with errors, John Mulvihill's men did what they needed as they took a maximum point haul to keep up their challenge for the play-offs.

They went into the break level after Dries van Schalkwyk responded to Owen Lane's early effort, which hinted at better things to come.

The Kings took the lead early in the second-half to leave the 5,312, who braved the miserable conditions, shell-shocked but Wales' Capital Region battled back emphatically.

Nick Williams and Olly Robinson both powered over the line to regain the lead before the bonus point was sealed with three minutes remaining, as Jason Harries slid in the corner.

Masixole Banda crossed the whitewash for a consolation score for the visitors in the final play of the game.


The win means Cardiff Blues remain level on points with Connacht in Conference A, but the Galway-based province currently pip John Mulvihill's side to third place on points difference, following a convincing win over Ospreys earlier in the day. 

Next up at the Arms Park is a Welsh derby as the Blues welcome Scarlets to the Welsh capital on March 22.

The Blues made a flying start at a drenched Arms Park with Owen Lane racing clear within two minutes of kick-off.

Willis Halaholo created the opportunity when he blocked a Kings attacking chip and Lane pounced on the loose ball before setting the right wing alight with his devastating pace.

Jarrod Evans knocked over the simple conversion and it could have been a quick-fire second with slick handling creating space on the right once more.

Summerhill hit the line at pace, but he could not quite move the ball to an unmarked Lane as he was clattered by Ulrich Beyers, man and ball.

Cardiff Blues continued to threaten out wide and fast hands created an opening once more. Summerhill, on this occasion managed to get his pass away but Shane Lewis-Hughes could not collect.

With Storm Freya continuing to batter the Arms Park, the Blues struggled to string any further meaningful plays together and the Kings soon set up camp in the danger zone.

They kicked several penalties to the corner, with Nick Williams harshly sent to the sin-bin, and continued to lay siege.

Following 10 minutes of immense pressure, they finally broke through with giant second-row Dries van Schalkwyk powered over.

Former Dragons scrum-half Sarel Pretorius slotted the conversion to draw level with half-time approaching.

The scores remained level at the break, but Wales' Capital Region quickly found themselves behind as the King quickly worked their way to the corner. It was a sense of déjà vu as they hammered at the Blues line allowing Michael Willemse to burrow over.

Pretorius was unable to add the extras, but the visitors were now in the lead as the Blues failed to fire.

That sparked the home side into life and with the introduction of Seb Davies and Tomos Williams they were soon on the attack.

An outside break from Halaholo almost saw the centre cross the whitewash but he was scragged down by Pretorius. However, they were now on the Kings line and after several phases, Williams made amends for his yellow card as he bulldozed over.

Evans failed to convert, with the wind playing havoc, but Cardiff were now level and with the wind at their backs, began to take a foot-hold on the game.

A miss-firing lineout continued to blight their progress but the introduction of Matthew Morgan had the desired effect as they diminutive full-back beat four defenders in the space of a phone box.

He could not quite wriggle over for what would have been an unbelievable try but the damage was done and at the next phase Robinson crashed over on a short ball.

Evans added the extras to stretch his side's lead to seven points, but the hosts had to remain patient in their hunt for a bonus point.

The all-important score came with three minutes remaining as a period of sustained pressure opened up the space for Evans to sling a long pass to Harries, who slid in at the corner.

Masixole Banda replied in the final play for the visitors to secure a bonus point for the Port Elizabeth-outfit.