Harlequins 23 Cardiff Blues 7
Sunday 6 February 3.15pm LV=Cup
Ceri Swenney kicked off proceedings with the Blues needing the win to have any chance of progressing to the next round of the competition. The Blues started strongly with a good charge from Pretorius making inroads near the Quins tryline, before the London team cleared. However, the South African born blindside was soon on the scoreboard following good work from Bryn Griffiths breaking the Quins defensive line, before putting a neat pass inside for Pretorius to score. Sweeney added the extras.
Quins fought back with scrum half Karl Dickson taking a quick penalty and supported well by Peter Browne that saw them awarded a scrum 5 metres out. Quick ball out was passed on to Nick Evans and the New Zealand outside half stepped inside Sweeney's tackle to stretch over to score, before adding the conversion to level the scores. Evans added a further penalty half way through the first half to give the Quins the lead in what was an entertaining match.
Quins soon extended their lead when Dickson again took a quick penalty from his own half and sprinted 40 yards before releasing Sam Smith to touch down under the posts, with Evans again converting. The Blues had a scoring chance in the very last minute of the half, taking a quick penalty 5 yards out. However, some solid Harlequins defence kept them out before the ref blew for the interval.
Half time Harlequins 17 Cardiff Blues 7
The second half started with Sweeney kicking the Blues to within 5 yards of the Quins tryline and the Blues driving from the lineout. Eventually the spread the ball and Sweeney nearly cut through the midfield but was held out by Evans' tackle. However, the Blues were awarded a penalty and from the scrum the ball went wide to Tom James who nearly squeezed in on the left but frustratingly Harlequins cleared. The Blues again failing to capitalise on good territory.
The Blues were looking to play and showed adventure in their game but the Harlequins defence was stubborn. However, as the game progressed errors were starting to creep into the game with both sides sloppy with their passing. Evans added a further penalty for the home side and with just over 10 minutes left the game seemed to be creeping away from the Blues. Dan Fish, who had come on for Dafydd Hewitt, nearly got a try back for the Blues diving over to touch down, however, he hit the corner flag and Quins were awarded a drop out twenty two.
Evans added a further penalty to bring the final score to 23-7, but with the news that Newcastle had beaten Exeter the game became meaningless for the Blues, with no chance of reaching the semi finals.
Cardiff Blues Team
15 Chris Czekaj 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Casey Laulala (4off) 12 Dafydd Hewitt (72off) 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Tom Slater (57off)
8 Tom Brown (57off) 7 Josh Navidi (46off) 6 Andries Pretorius 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Bryn Griffiths 3 Taufa'ao Filise 2 Gareth Williams (62off) 1 Tom Davies (15off)
16 T Rhys Thomas (62on) 17 Sam Hobbs (57on) 18 Nathan Trevett (15on57off) 19 Maama Molitika (57on) 20 Ben White (46on) 21 Rhys Downes (57on) 22 Gavin Evans (4on) 23 Dan Fish (72on)
15 Ross Chisholm 14 Sam Smith 13 George Lowe 12 Tom Casson 11 Gonzalo Camacho 10 Nick Evans 9 Karl Dickson
1 Ceri Jones 2 Chris Brooker 3 John Andress 4 Lewis Stvenson 5 Pete Browne 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu 7 Will Skinner (c) 8 Chris York
16 Joe Gray 17 Will Collier 18 Mark Lambert 19 Ollie Kohn 20 Joe Trayfoot 21 Dave Moore 22 Rory Clegg 23 Ben Urdapiletta
Tries Pretorius x 1
Cons Sweeney x 1
Tries Evans x 1 Smith x 1
Pens Evans x 3
Cons Evans x 2
Referee: David Rose