Cardiff Blues 30 - 24 Zebre
Fri 28 April 19:05 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 4,737 Ref: Frank Murphy Guinness Pro12

Cardiff Blues 30 Zebre 24

Fri 28 Apr 2017 21:02 Cardiff Blues 30 Zebre 24
Wales’ Capital Region dominated the first-half with tries from Gareth Anscombe and Aled Summerhill helping them to a 23-3 lead.

But they were frustrated in a scrappy second-half which saw only Tomos Williams cross as the visitors fought back.

With the Danny Wilson’s men already assured of a play-off for the last remaining spot in the European Champions Cup the aim was to maintain confidence and momentum.

And they secured the spoils to sign off from BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park for the season on a winning note.

The Blues threatened straight from the get go with Alex Cuthbert busting through the Italian defence on the fringe of a ruck. He found Rhys Gill in support, who combined with Tomos Williams. 

Play broke down but they remained in the ascent and were agonisingly close to claiming a try again when Anscombe chipped over the top, however the ball bounced away from Lee-Lo with the line at his mercy.

The Blues continued to control territory and possession, and were causing Zebre problems, but they were unable to breakthrough in the frenetic encounter.

Anscombe booted the scoreboard into action on 12 minutes and he doubled the Blues’ advantage on 20.

The Wales fly-half claimed the opening try on 22 minutes, the Blues had been hammering away at Zebre and the cracks finally appeared.

Nick Williams received the ball on the edge of the twenty-two and moved possession to Ellis Jenkins.

The ball drifted behind the flanker but he displayed slick hands and found Anscombe on the pivot, who showed bags of pace to ease around the defence.

He added the extras and the Blues made it two tries in two minutes as they struck virtually from the restart.

After turning over possession inside their own half they went on the counter-attack with Lee-Lo releasing Aled Summerhill.

The 22-year-old displayed a clean pair of heels as he went on the outside and then stood up Edoardo Padovani as he scorched down the left wing.

Anscombe bisected the posts from the touchline and soon added a penalty as the Blues opened up a 20-point lead.

Wales’ Capital Region were dealt a blow when number eight Williams was sent to the sin-bin for a tip-tackle. 

Carlo Canna converted the penalty to open up Zebre’s account, before Anscombe restored the Blues’ 20-point lead going into the break.

A charge down by Jarrad Hoeata set up an early home attack in the second half, but following numerous phases, Zebre’s Federico Ruzza intercepted and raced clear down the field.

The lock seemed destined for the line, until Rhun Williams hunted the second-row down to prevent a certain try.

However, the visitors remained camped in Blues territory for the next 15 minutes and were eventually awarded a penalty-try at the scrum after Filise was sin-binned.

Canna converted but Cardiff Blues instantly hit-back as Tomos Williams charged down Marcelo Violi and pounced on the ball.

It appeared as though the livewire scrum-half had claimed a quick-fire second as he sniped from inside his own half and turned a succession of defenders inside out with a sensational break but TMO replays showed an earlier knock-on at the breakdown.

Zebre soon claimed a second try through Maxime Mbanda, which was again converted. The Blues lost replacement flanker Sion Bennett to a yellow card just minutes after he came on but the Italians were dealt a bigger blow as Dario Chistolini was shown red for punching.

Replacement back row Andries van Schalkwyk claimed a third try for the visitors late on, but despite further late pressure, they were unable to snatch the victory as Cardiff Blues won a crucial penalty in the final play to secure the win.