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Brilliant Blues win Plate at World Club 7s

17th August 2014

Cardiff Blues produced an inspired second day performance at the World Club 7s at Twickenham and toppled South African side Vodacom Blue Bulls in the final to be crowned the Plate champions.

Blues launched the second day of the competition at the home of English rugby with a Cup quarter-final against favourites Buenos Aires and gave the eventual overall winners of the event a huge scare before narrowly losing out 7-5.
That result meant Blues went into the Plate tournament and the 12-man squad duly produced some of the best rugby seen to emphatically take the title.
Powerful Russian side RC Enisei were confidently beaten 35-5 in the semi-finals after a seven-try super show that included a two-try burst by Garyn Smith.
The final then saw a repeat of the pool stages on Saturday when Vodacom Blue Bulls had run out 24-21 winners. But revenge was sweet for Blues as speedster Luke Morgan grabbed a brace as Blues ran out comfortable 28-12 winners to claim the Plate.

Day Two Match Round-up:

Cup Quarter-Final: Cardiff Blues 5 Buenos Aires 7
A tense and tight quarter-final saw Cardiff Blues edged out of the cup competition by favourites Buenos Aires at Twickenham.
Captain Jevon Groves grabbed a first half try as Blues took a slender half-time lead but the Argentines - who won when the two teams had met on day one - scored the only try of the second period and the conversion sent them through.
Blues controlled the opening exchanges and when Marcos Bollini was yellow carded for illegal work at the breakdown the first try soon followed as Groves crashed through two tackles to touch down.
Lloyd Williams then went close to a second score moments later, but after jinking his way to the line he was pushed into touch.
Buenos Aires looked to respond and only an electric turn of pace and strong tackle into touch by Luke Morgan kept them at bay as Blues took a 5-0 lead to the break.
The advantage, though, only lasted a minute after the restart as several tackles were broken in midfield and it was Bollini who atoned for his earlier yellow card as he crossed. The conversion from Bautista Guemes put Buenos Aires ahead.
A superb tackle from Tomos Williams stopped Rodrigo Etchart from extending the lead while the young scrum half nearly sent Garyn Smith away at the other end as he looked to release his arms out of the tackle.
Blues dominated the final minutes as they looked for the score that would turn the game on its head, with Ben Roach cutting infield and racing up close before the ball was lost.
Buenos Aires were happy to kick the ball dead with time up to take the win while Blues were left to contemplate a semi-final in the Plate against RC Enisei.
Cardiff Blues (starting line-up): Simon Humberstone, Jevon Groves, Garyn Smith, Owen Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Lloyd Williams, Luke Morgan.
Plate Semi-Final: Cardiff Blues 35 RC Enisei 5
Rising star Garyn Smith grabbed a try double as Cardiff Blues ruthlessly took apart Russian outfit RC Enisei to book a place in the Plate final.
Academy hot prospect Smith grabbed the headlines with his two scores, but this was a complete team performance from the Blues who had the game wrapped up by the break.
Blues started the encounter at real pace against a muscular RC Enisei side that had caused teams plenty of problems with their physicality.
Simon Humberstone and Thomas Williams raced into contact while a great tackle took down try machine winger Denis Simplikevich in full flow at the other end.
Simplikevich did grab his eighth try of the tournament from close range after constant Russian pressure, but Blues hit back within a minute as a sublime step from Tom Williams sent him down the middle and away for 7-5 lead.
A charged down kick was brilliantly taken by the alert Luke Morgan and he fed Smith on his shoulder, with the centre cutting back on a great running line to open up the RC Enisei defence.
A try on stroke of half-time, as Morgan showed his strength and desire to hold off Simplikevich and dot down by the corner flag, put Blues firmly in the driving seat.
Smith was back in the thick of the action two minutes after the restart as he picked off a forced pass out wide and tore over from deep inside his own half for an intercept try and his second of game.
The rest of the game saw Blues cleverly run the clock down with possession before a final flourish saw Ben Roach score with final play of the game to complete a comprehensive win.
Cardiff Blues (starting line-up): Simon Humberstone, Jevon Groves, Garyn Smith, Thomas Williams, Owen Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Luke Morgan.
Plate Final: Cardiff Blues 28 Vodacom Blue Bulls 12
Speedster Luke Morgan grabbed a devastating try double as Cardiff Blues gained revenge over the Vodacom Blue Bulls and deservedly secured the Plate title.
The Bulls had edged through 24-21 winners on day one when the two teams met during the pool stages. But there was no repeat in the showpiece Plate final as Blues produced a clinical display of attacking rugby and rock solid defence.
An impressive opening seven minutes saw Blues bounce back from an early try to run in three of their own with Morgan, Tomos Williams and Owen Jenkins over the whitewash.
And a second half score from Morgan completed the job as Blues left Twickenham as with silverware.
It was the Bulls that had settled the better in the final and inside the first 50 seconds worked the ball wide to an overlap and the grateful Ganfried May for converted opener.
The response from Blues was immediate as Garyn Smith flew down the right flank and past tackles. The ball was neatly switched into the hands of Morgan who simply had too much speed for opposition and pulled away down the middle to score.
Next it was Tomos Williams who showed his dancing feet in a tight spot to score a superb solo effort after Morgan had again caused problems with his raw pace.
Straight from the kick off the ball was collected by the alert Lloyd Williams and he fed possession inside for Jenkins to race over for a 21-7 half-time lead.
The Bulls needed to find a foothold in the game and after the break they did just that as they kept hold of possession for a long period, forced penalty mistakes and sent Carel Swart over in the corner as he just touched down under pressure.
Blues, though, knew one more try would kill off the South African effort with Morgan going for the corner after flying down the blindside of a scrum, only to be shunted out after getting past the first man with a neat sidestep.
However, moments later he popped up on the opposite flank and was on the end of some slick handling to blast over as the celebrations started for Blues.
Cardiff Blues (starting line-up): Simon Humberstone, Jevon Groves, Garyn Smith, Owen Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Lloyd Williams, Luke Morgan.