Newport Gwent Dragons 5 Cardiff Blues 16
Saturday 15 September 6.30pm
The much anticipated Welsh derby match saw young fly half Rhys Patchell make his first start for the Blues. It was the former Glantaf pupil who had the chance to put some points on the board after the Dragons were penalized for collapsing the scrum in the opening minutes. However, his effort just drifted wide but it didn’t affect his nerves as he went on to have an outstanding match.
It was a dry night and both sides were looking to spread the ball around whenever possible but with 15 minutes gone neither side had broken the deadlock. The Dragons did look threatening on the left but solid defence from another debutant, Tom Williams, kept them out. Steffan Jones also missed an attempt at goal to keep the score at 0-0 after twenty minutes.
The Blues looked to have woken the scoreboard operator when Rhys Patchell broke superbly between Steffan Jones and Tuilagi and offloaded to Dafydd Hewitt. He passed inside to Gavin Evans to score only for referee Neil Hennessey to call them back for a forward pass much to the frustration of the visiting fans but delight of home supporters.
Minutes later Steffan Jones put in a monster penalty kick from his own half, which bounced back off the crossbar where Lloyd Williams knocked on. The scrum was an ideal platform for the Dragons to attack but the Blues dislodged their scrum and Patchell cleared.
Despite being forced back into their twenty-two the Blues most promising attack came when Cuthbert gathered the ball at first receiver and broke through two forwards all the way to the Dragons twenty-two. He was tackled from behind as he slowed to wrong foot the fullback but again the big winger showed what a threat he could be.
The first points eventually came just before the break when Patchell slotted a 40-metre penalty effort. The lead didn’t last long as there was still time for some forceful running and good offloads by the Dragons forwards to let Steffan Jones through a gap to get the first try of the night. Prydie missed with the conversion.
Half time Newport Gwent Dragons 5 Cardiff Blues 3
The Dragons nearly scored another try at the very start of the second half. A short lineout to Phil Price saw the prop forward show some great pace to sprint within yards of the Blues tryline. The Dragons tried to recycle the ball to score but the TMO decided no try and Trevett was sent to the bin for killing the ball. Tom Davies came on in place of Navidi to fill the vacancy in the front row that did superbly well to win a penalty from the scrum to clear.
The Blues then scored an opportunist try. The Dragons looked to spread the ball but Lydiate fumbled it into the hands of Gavin Evans who fed speedster Alex Cuthbert who sprinted in from 40 yards. Patchell converted to restore the Blues lead.
It was a tense, full-blooded affair but the score remained the same with both Jones and Patchell missing penalty attempts. The Dragon’s faithful were getting vocal, willing their side on, but the Blues remained solid in defence.
Patchell secured the win for the Blues with two long distance penalties in the last five minutes to bring the final score to 5-16 and put the Blues back on track ahead of next Saturday’s match against Treviso.
Cardiff Blues 15. Thomas Williams 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Gavin Evans 12. Dafydd Hewitt (50off) 11. Harry Robinson 10. Rhys Patchell 9. Lloyd Williams (50off)
8. Andries Pretorius (c) 7. Sam Warburton 6. Josh Navidi 5. James Down 4. Bradley Davies (60off) 3.Taufa’ao Filise 2.Marc Breeze (60off) 1.Nathan Trevett
16. Kristian Dacey (60on) 17. Thomas Davies 18.Benoit Bourrust 19. Lou Reed (60on) 20.Rory Watts-Jones 21.Lewis Jones (50on) 22. Ceri Sweeney 23. Jamie Roberts (50on)
Newport Gwent Dragons
15 Dan Evans 14 Will Harries 13 Pat Leach 12 Andy Tuilagi 11 Tom Prydie 10 Steffan Jones 9 Jonathan Evans 1 Phil Price 2 Steve Jones 3 Dan Way 4 Ian Nimmo 5 Adam Jones 6 Dan Lydiate 7 Lewis Evans (c) 8 Toby Faletau
16 Hugh Gustafson 17 Aaron Coundley 18 Nathan Buck 19 Jevon Groves 20 Tom Brown 21 Liam Davies 22 Ashley Smith 23 Adam Hughes
Tries Cuthbert x 1
Con Patchell x 1
Pen Patchell x 3
Newport Gwent Dragons
Tries Jones x 1
Yellow card: Trevett