Cardiff Blues 16 - 21 Worcester Warriors
Fri 08 November 19:30 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 6,823 Ref: Gwyn Morris Anglo Welsh Cup

Cardiff Blues 16 Worcester Warriors 21

Fri 8 Nov 2013 21:45 Cardiff Blues 16 Worcester Warriors 21
Two early penalties from Gareth Davies gave Blues the lead before Worcester clicked into gear and tries from Rob O’Donnell, James Stephenson and Max Stelling gave them a 21-6 lead at the break.

But a second half surge from a youthful Blues side, who were without 20 players through international call-ups and injury, saw them cut the lead to five points courtesy of a try from Thomas Young.

However, the home side could find no way through in the final ten minutes of an entertaining clash as Blues had to settle for a losing bonus point from the encounter.

A chilly night greeted both teams and it was Warriors who got onto the front foot in the opening minutes as the forwards went to work and secured a penalty on the floor that Ignacio Mieres lined up. The Argentine, though, hit the left upright with his attempt.

The visiting pack was looking menacing as another penalty allowed them to rumble up close to the line before Blues finally managed to claim possession as they held Worcester out in the shadow of the posts.

Midfield duo Richard Smith and Dafydd Hewitt plus young back row Thomas Young looked to take the fight back to Warriors before a scrum penalty allowed Gareth Davies his first shot at the posts and the fly half made no mistake for the lead.

Turnover ball allowed Chris Czekaj to kick in behind Worcester and when James Stephenson was put under huge pressure he was pinged by the referee for holding on. Davies lined up the resulting kick and extended the lead to six points.

Worcester hit back to score the opening try of the game as neat hands and piercing runs from Jake Abbott and Mieres saw the ball kept alive before O’Donnell burst over to touch down. Mieres added the extras to give Warriors the lead for the first time on the night.

Czekaj and Davies combined as Blues looked to hit back while Worcester wing Josh Drauniniu showed why he is so dangerous in open field as he burst past two tackles but failed to find his support runners.

The Worcester pack continued to flex their muscles as they shunted Blues back before two powerful surges from Jake Abbott and Paul Hodgson freed up room and neat footwork from Stephenson saw him cut inside off his wing to score the second try of the night for Warriors.

Mieres missed a simple penalty from in front of the posts while his opposite number Gareth Davies limped off and was replaced by Simon Humberstone, with the Pontypridd fly half making his debut for Blues.

Andries Pretorius looked to spark the home side back into life as he peeled off the back of a scrum and down the short-side before feeding James Down infield.

But it was Worcester who went further ahead just before the break as Mieres fed Stelling on his shoulder and the young centre broke through and stepped the final man before racing in for a fine solo effort.

The home side looked to find a response before the break and were helped when Chris Jones was yellow carded. But Humberstone missed the penalty wide right as Warriors took a 21-6 lead into the half-time interval.

Blues made a trio of changes in the opening minutes of the second half with a new look front row and Gavin Evans making his return.

Evans almost had an immediate impact as he collected Humberstone’s neat chip in behind but could not quite fire off a pass.

A mistake by Paul Hodgson at the back of a scrum saw him stumble and lose control of the ball. The loose possession was picked up by Thomas Young who blasted over from close range.

Blues were showing much more fight in the second half and more impressive work on the floor saw them win back ball as Worcester started to try and force position and come strong again after the setback of the try.

The home were continuing to gather momentum as a neat kick in behind forced Worcester to defend a lineout close to their own line. And a penalty, for not releasing, gave Humberstone another kick that reduced the lead to five points.

Blues were nearly over for another try as Czekaj exploited an overlap and then Fish on his wing kicked in behind and gathered, but was adjudged to have put a foot in touch.

More indiscipline from Worcester saw them leak another penalty with seven minutes to go and Fish kicked to the corner to set up another Blues attack. But after working the ball in field it was the hosts that this time got over anxious and were penalised for holding on.

Again Blues went for a try in the closing two minutes as Humberstone stepped a man and Hewitt attacked the line at real pace, but the ball was lost forward as time slipped away from the home side.


09m Davies p 3-0

12m Davies p 6-0

13m O’Donnell t Mieres c 6-7

27m Stephenson t Mieres c 6-14

38m Stelling t Mieres c 6-21

53m Young t Humberstone c 13-21

66m Humberstone p 16-21

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Tom Williams (Evans 46), 13 Richard Smith, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Gareth Davies (Humberstone 33), 9 Lewis Jones (Walker 73); 1 Tom Davies (Hobbs 46, Davies 77), 2 Kristian Dacey (Williams 73), 3 Benoit Bourrust (Filise 46), 4 Miles Nomandale (Hamilton 69), 5 James Down, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Thomas Young (Watts-Jones 69), 8 Andries Pretorius.

Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Taufa’ao Filise, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Alex Walker, 22 Simon Humberstone, 23 Gavin Evans

Worcester Warriors: 15 Ben Howard, 14 James Stephenson (Warwick 40), 13 Jon Clarke (Symons 62), 12 Max Stelling, 11 Josh Drauniniu, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Paul Hodgson; 1 Jeremy Becasseau (Porter 63), 2 Ed Shervington, 3 Rob O’Donnell, 4 Mike Williams, 5 Chris Jones (Schofield 49), 6 Sam Betty (Thomas 39-40), 7 Jake Abbott, 8 Leonardo Senatore (Thomas 49).

Replacements: 16 Nick Seymour, 17 George Porter, 18 Ofa Fainga’anuku, 19 Dean Schofield, 20 Jonathan Thomas, 21 George de Cothi, 22 Paul Warwick, 23 Andy Symons