Cardiff Blues 37 - 8 Zebre
Sat 04 November 19:35 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 5,381 Ref: Sean Gallagher Guinness Pro14

Cardiff Blues 37 Zebre Rugby 8

Sat 4 Nov 2017 21:31 Cardiff Blues 37 Zebre Rugby 8
Following two weeks on the road, the Blues completed the first block of European and Guinness PRO14 action with a one-sided performance to climb to fifth in the Championship table.

Danny Wilson’s side led 18-3 at the break following tries from Lloyd Williams and Willis Halaholo in a first-half that had plenty of fireworks.

And the home side continued to sparkle in the second half as Matthew Rees, Matthew Morgan and Tom James all crossed to secure the win.

Zebre responded with a late try from Guglielmo Palazzani but did not threaten the home side's lead in the latter stages of the game.

The Blues made 10 changes for the encounter, including a return for club captain Gethin Jenkins, who showed no signs of his long lay-off. 

It took the home side just six minutes to open the scoring with Gethin Jenkins making a thunderous hit and Nick Williams turning over possession to create the opportunity.

The ball was spread to the left and Willis Halaholo put scrum-half Williams away on the outside. There was still plenty for 27-year-old to do but he showed great pace as he raced 50 metres and skipped the final tackle to dive over.

Shingler was unable to add the extras from wide and Carlos Canna hit back with a penalty despite the Blues’ early dominance.

Wales’ Capital Region appeared dangerous on almost every occasion they had the ball but were pinged at the breakdown or the last pass did not stick.

However, they claimed their second try on 20 minutes with Halaholo hitting a flat pop pass from Williams at first-phase and bursting through Mattia Bellini.

The centre wrong footed Marcello Violi in the same movement and handed off the scrum-half as he crossed the whitewash for his tenth try in Cardiff Blues colours.

Shingler converted the score and soon added a penalty as the home side raced into a 15-3 lead.

There were further chances for the Blues, with a fired up Nick Williams a particular thorn in the Italian club’s side. 

Shingler kept the scoreboard ticking and Cardiff Blues kept pressing but to no avail as the score remained 18-3 at the interval. 

The Blues continued to threaten in the second-half and their endeavour paid dividends on 51 minutes when they rumbled over from an attacking lineout, with Matthew Rees dotting down.

Shingler was unable to add the extras as he struck the left upright but Wilson’s men were now 23-3 up and chasing a bonus-point. 

And it did not take them long to score it in stunning fashion.

Shortly after the hour mark the ball was spread wide to the right. Morgan fed Blaine Scully on the touchline and the USA captain superbly sucked in all three defenders before lifting the ball over the top and inside to Morgan as he was clattered into touch.

Morgan raced over the whitewash with Shingler converting and he was back at the tee just four minutes later as a quick line-out by James fed Morgan, who returned the ball to the wing to cross for Cardiff Blues' fifth of the evening.

Shingler was once again on target to stretch the Blues’ lead to 37-3.

Zebre did touch down for a consolation score in the latter stages, as Palazzani snuck over following a long spell of defending for the home side.

Cardiff Blues now head into two weeks of Anglo Welsh Cup action where they face Newcastle Falcons and Ospreys.