Edinburgh 17 - 19 Cardiff Blues
HT 14-0
Sat 23 February 19:35 BT Murrayfield Att: 4,258 Ref: Frank Murphy Guinness PRO14

Edinburgh 17 Cardiff Blues 19

Sat 23 Feb 2019 21:39 Edinburgh 17 Cardiff Blues 19

Jason Harries returned to haunt Edinburgh as Cardiff Blues battled back from a 17-point deficit to snatch a dramatic victory and give their Guinness PRO14 play-off hopes a major boost.


The Blues trailed 14-0 at the interval following a lacklustre and flat opening 40 minutes but they dominated the majority of the second-half.


Jaco van der Walt edged the hosts even further in front with a penalty but the Blues were undeterred and sparked into life.


Former Edinburgh man Harries created the opening try for Lloyd Williams and then finished two more as Wales’ Capital Region inflicted a first home defeat in the competition on the Scots since April.


The much-needed victory takes Cardiff Blues into third position and the all-important play-off places, which also warrant Heineken Champions Cup qualification.

Despite making a promising start in the Scottish capital, the Blues soon found themselves trailing with Edinburgh claiming a try in fortuitous circumstances.


When Juan Pablo Socino won a turnover penalty, the ball was drilled into the Cardiff Blues half. Their lineout miss-fired but a cruel bounce fell straight back to hooker, David Cherry, who raced clear.


He was tackled by Fish but offloaded from the floor with Fowles collecting to score a sucker-punch try, which Jaco van der Walt converted from wide.


From here, Edinburgh took a stranglehold on affairs and enjoyed the majority of territory and possession. They soon claimed a second try and again it was an unlucky bounce that caught the Cardiff Blues defence off guard.


Fowles fumbled the ball at the breakdown but regathered and exposed a hole on the fringe to snipe clear. He drew Fish before releasing Mata with a perfectly-weighted no-look pass.


Van der Walt added the simple extras to give Richard Cockerill’s men a commanding 14-0 lead.


Cardiff Blues were not without their own opportunities and they enjoyed sustained periods of pressure mid-way through the half.


Rhys Carre and Shane Lewis-Hughes carried to good affect and Rey Lee-Lo was his typical self in midfield but they could not quite break the Scots down.


It appeared as though they had manufactured the breakthrough when Liam Belcher released Aled Summerhill with a lovely inside ball.


The in form wing left two defenders on their backsides with some electric footwork before making what appeared to be a scoring pass to Lloyd Williams. But somehow Viliame Mata caught the scrum-half, who was then penalised for holding on, just inches from the try-line.


Cardiff Blues continued to ask questions of an Edinburgh defence, who seemed to have all the answers, and the score remained 14-0 going into the interval.


Wales’ Capital Region needed to start the second half well and after soaking up some early pressure from the Scots they opened their account.


The try came from almost nowhere, moments after Van Der Walt had extended Edinburgh’s lead to 17. Olly Robinson popped an inside pass to Jason Harries, who was introduced for the second-half against his former club.


The wing beat one man before offloading to Williams, who ran it in to give his side hope. Evans converted and the Blues remained in the ascent.


After fine work from Williams and Robinson at the breakdown earned a penalty and Evans kicked Cardiff Blues to the 22.


From here they needed no second invite with a strike play off first phase. Evans made the outside break and put Lee-Lo through a gap on a hard line. The Samoan international drew the last man to send Harries over the whitewash on his former stomping ground.


On this occasion, Evans was unable to convert from wide but the score had cut the deficit to 17-12 and Cardiff Blues came agonisingly close to adding a quick fire second.


Lee-Lo broke on the right straight from the kick-off and released Summerhill on the wing. He flung a pass inside but Lloyd Williams could not quite bring it under control to run in unopposed.


The missed opportunity could have put a dent in the Blues’ confidence, but they continued to cause Edinburgh all sorts of problems and as the clock hit 70 minutes they struck.


Willis Halaholo made the initial inroads and neat play from Evans and Summerhill, released Harries, who bundled through one defender to score.


Evans’ conversion from wide just crept over the uprights and the Blues survived a late onslaught to take a crucial four-points back to Cardiff.