Edinburgh Rugby 19 Cardiff Blues 12
Friday 16 December 8pm kick off Murrayfield
Edinburgh kicked off the Round 4 Heineken Cup match and Laidlaw got some early points for the Scottish capital side with a straightforward penalty.
A stray Gethin Jenkins pass nearly resulted in the first try. Visser hacked the ball on and gathered in the Blues twenty-two but Halfpenny had done well to track back and tackle with Parks then picking up the ball and clearing. It was an early let off for the Blues; however, Laidlaw added another penalty following a period of attack.
Edinburgh were certainly proving a threat, throwing the ball around well between forwards and back and gaining good ground and the first try soon came. Edinburgh worked their way into the Blues twenty-two and recycled the ball from the ruck. They spread the ball out where Visser showed good strength and speed to power over in the corner. Laidlaw did well to get the extras from the touchline.
Parks slotted a penalty back for the Blues to bring the score to 13-3 after 20 minutes but Edinburgh counter rucking was proving problematic for the Blues and the home side was soon awarded another penalty. This time Laidlaw was wide.
Edinburgh then had another golden opportunity to score. Lloyd Williams saw his kick charged down from a line out win and Edinburgh gathered the stray ball. Laidlaw then kicked cross-field for Visser and the big Dutchman did well to collect and the ball was slowly recycled. This game enough time for Visser to work his way over to the right but failed to gather another cross field kick on the opposite wing, dropping the ball over the line. It was last ditch defence from the Blues but they couldn’t stop Laidlaw slotting a drop goal. The fly half soon added another penalty and the Blues were trailing 19-3 at half time.
Half time Edinburgh Rugby 19 Cardiff Blues 3
The Blues made one change at half time with Czekaj off and Hewitt on, Jamie Roberts moving to the wing. They started the second half better, working their way to five yards of the Edinburgh try-line. They picked and drove before spreading the ball wide, but Halfpenny failed to gather the ball when it looked like the overlap was on and Edinburgh eventually cleared the danger.
Parks did manage to slot another penalty but with 20 minutes left the Blues were trailing by 13 points.
The Blues lacked a cutting edge, was evident again and was summed up by a move late in the second half. Dan Parks did well to hold the ball up and break through the defence, but when he passed out to Gavin Evans, the winger stumbled with the try line just yards away. However, the Blues did manage the leave the Edinburgh twenty-two with 3 points from a Parks penalty.
A further Parks penalty reduced the deficit to 10 points and the best the Blues could home for was a losing bonus point. Edinburgh infringed in a ruck in the 78th minute, 45 yards out and Leigh Halfpenny stepped up. He coolly slotted it to give the Blues a losing bonus point, which could prove crucial.
Pen Parks x 3 Halfpenny x 1
Tries Visser x 1
Cons Laidlaw x 1
Pen Laidlaw x 3
D/G Laidlaw x 1
Cardiff Blues 15 Leigh Halfpenny14 Gavin Evans 13 Casey Laulala 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Chris Czekaj (40off) 10 Dan Parks 9 Lloyd Williams (66off)
8 Xavier Rush 7 Sam Warburton 6 Michael Paterson (48off) 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Bradley Davies 3 Taufa’ao Filise (70off) 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 Gethin Jenkins
16 Ryan Tyrell 17 John Yapp 18 Scott Andrews (70on) 19 Josh Navidi 20 Maama Molitika (48on) 21 Richie Rees (66on) 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Dafydd Hewitt (40on)
Edinburgh Rugby 15 Chris Paterson 14 Lee Jones 13 Nick De Luca 12 James King 11 Tim Visser 10 Greig Laidlaw © 9 Mike Blair
1 Allan Jacobsen 2 Ross Ford 3 Geoff Cross 4 Grant Gilchrist 5 Sean Cox 6 David Denton 7 Roddy Grant 8 Netani Talei
16 Steven Lawrie 17 Kyle Traynor 18 Jack Gilding 19 Esteban Lozada 20 Ross Rennie 21 Phil Godman 22 Matt Scott 23 Tom Brown