A 31-20 win against regional rivals the Dragons has given the Blues a two point lead in the race for the Magners League title crown.
The Dragons showed early on their desire to spoil the Blues title hopes with some dogged attacking and solid defending. However, Ben Blair put in an excellent kick down to the corner for good field position and Robin Sowden-Taylor also did well breaking from a line out into the Dragons twenty two
The early score nearly came for the Dragons when Gareth Cooper put in a box kick that nearly resulted in a try for Richard Fusell. The Dragons were then awarded a penalty in front of posts when a Blues player was deemed to be on the wrong side of the ruck. Sweeney stepped up but hooked the ball to the left of the post.
It was an open game in ideal conditions. Kevin Morgan managed to off load in the tackle to Sweeney but as the Dragons number ten went to release the ball he spilt it. Mike Phillips picked it up and ran 40 yards, shacking off tacklers as he went, to touch down under the posts. Blair added the conversion.
The Dragons were however playing with intensity and worked their way up to the Blues twenty two. They managed to win a penalty for offside and Sweeney this time made sure.
A frantic scramble saw the ball bobble from the Blues to the Dragons with the ref playing advantage. When the ball emerged on the Blues territory they failed to take advantage of an overlap on the right, when it looked they could have scored another try. A huge drive in the scrum however, saw them win a penalty that Blair converted.
Another penalty was awarded minutes later for a high tackle on Mike Phillips but this time the Blues elected to kick for the corner. Jamie Ringer killed the ball when the Blues tried to drive forward for the line and was sent to the bin for 10 minutes. From the scrum, Xavier Rush powered over for the second try of the night. Blair added the conversion.
HALF TIME CARDIFF BLUES 17 NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS 3
The dragons started the second half well when Joe Bearman managed to cross for a try early on, swerving through the Blues defence and touching down under the posts. Sweeney added the conversion.
However the Blues faithful didnt have to wait long for their next score. Lovely interplay between Mike Phillips and Robin Sowden-Taylor saw the Blues move up Dragons half before he released Tom Shanklin, who sprinted in for the third try of the evening. Blair once again added the conversion.
A powerful break by Xavier Rush saw the Blues break out of their own twenty two, unfortunately the pass didnt stick and the Dragons were awarded a penalty for hands in the ruck. Sweeney was accurate once again with his attempt.
The Blues were putting pressure on the Dragons and were intent on getting the bonus point. Forwards and backs were interplaying well with Nicky Robinson putting in a neat chip putting more pressure on the Gwent outfit.
From the line out they drove for the line and it was fitting that it was Mike Phillips, who was having an outstanding match, got the touch down. The Blues had secured the bonus point and Blair added the conversion.
The Blues still went for the score but a breakaway try by Gaeth Maule and conversion by Ceri Sweeney saw the scores at 31-20 with 5 minutes to go. However, the Blues managed to hold on to the lead and secure the win that puts them at the top of the Magners League.