Cardiff Blues beat Borders 36 - 15, scoring five tries to move up, temporarily at least, to second place in the Magners League.
CARDIFF BLUES 36 BORDER REIVERS 15
SATURDAY 6 JANUARY 5.30 PM KICK OFF MAGNERS LEAGUE
Mike Phillips threw a long pass out to Ben Blair who slipped through defence, Chris Czekaj drew his man and put Rhys Shellard in the clear and sprinted over for the first try of the match within the first four minutes. Ben Blair stepped up to kick the conversion. From the restart Borders were awarded a penalty and MacRae slotted it for the visitors.
Despite the earlier downpour it was a dry evening and a pinpoint kick by Nick Robinson pushed the Borders right back in to their own corner. The Blues dominated the earlier play and made it clear from the start they wanted to attack the visitors in their own half but the Borders were also capable of flowing rugby themselves.
A good break by Gary Powell in the loose saw the Blues move up-field but unfortunately the ball was knocked on. The Borders moved up-field from the scrum and a wild pass in defence by the Blues saw Simon Danielli pounce on the loose ball and crash over in the corner to give the Scotsman the lead.
The score seemed to wake the Blues and they attempted to move the ball wide. It was spread out to Thom James who chipped over the defence and only last gasp defending prevented the try. The Blues were awarded a scrum v and appeared to drive the Borders back to score. However the ref awarded another scrum then penalised the home team.
Excellent inter-passing between backs and forwards saw the Blues move up-field but once again they were penalised by the referee and Borders cleared.
Despite the set backs the Blues never gave up and Thom James showed his pace once again this time down the left hand side he eventually won a penalty that Ben Blair converted to restore the lead.
The Blues eventually got another score when Nick Robinson slotted a neat drop goal. However the referee Peter Fitzgibbon didnt see it and awarded the Blues the penalty that they kicked to the corner but failed to take advantage of.
HALF TIME CARDIFF BLUES 10 BORDER REIVERS 8
The Blues had a great start to the second half with some powerful running from Number 8 Xavier Rush. It wasnt long before the big kiwi had smashed through the Borders defence in their own twenty two and powered over for a try under the posts. Converted by fellow Kiwi, Ben Blair
Within minutes Ben Blair was counter attacking and Stcherbina did well to take two men out pass to Shellard who released Czekaj who was held just short. However it didnt take long for them to be on the score sheet again when Ben White carried four defenders over the line to score the third try of the match for the Blues.
Slick hands by Gethin Jenkins, Xavier Rush and Nick Robinson saw the ball mover out wide to Czekaj. The Cardiff wing out sprinted the defence drew hi man and put in a perfectly timed pass for Jamie Robinson to cross for the forth try to secure the bonus point. The Blues were now 29-8 up after 53 minutes.
Nicky Robinson showed his speed and good hands once again by Rhys Thomas and Gethin Jenkins saw the Blues work their way in to the twenty two again. This time however the Borders managed to clear. The Scots did threaten on occasion and they were rewarded for their endeavours when
Garry Law chipped ahead and touched down with MacRae adding the conversion.
The final stages of the match saw Rhys Shellard cross for his second try of the match with Blair converting and a number of substitutions giving the chance for some youngsters to be blooded when the game was secure. The Blues had gained another bonus point win for the second time in a fortnight that took them up to third in the league.