Thursday 24 August 2017

Blues finish on high

Edinburgh 14 Cardiff Blues 21

Five penalties from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny helped Cardiff Blues round out their Heineken Cup campaign with victory over Edinburgh in a poor game at Murrayfield.



The Wales winger's haul was added to by six points from Dan Parks but the win was not enough for the Blues to give themselves a chance of a place in the last eight of the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup.

Edinburgh registered the only try of the game through centre Ben Cairns, with Chris Paterson adding nine points with the boot, but they end another hugely disappointing European campaign at the bottom of the pool.

The Blues made a lively start and opened their account inside two minutes when Scotland fly-half Parks slotted a 20-metre penalty. That breakthrough roused Edinburgh and the hosts restored parity when Paterson thumped over a long-range kick after Andries Pretorius was penalised for an illegal tackle on Simon Webster.

With neither side able to impose themselves, the Blues reverted to the boot to restore their advantage, and this time wing Halfpenny weighed in with a mighty effort from wide on the right.

A penalty miss by Paterson appeared to galvanise the Scots who enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy, and they capitalised on the pressure with their try after 28 minutes. James King supplied a perfectly-weighted chip which caught the defence in disarray and allowed Cairns to plunge over at the corner.

An offence by Edinburgh skipper Roddy Grant presented Parks with a straightforward penalty which he skewed wide of the target, before Paterson stroked over his second penalty of the game to leave the hosts 11-6 ahead at the break. Parks clawed back three points with another penalty a minute after the restart but Paterson cancelled out that effort almost instantly.

The Blues responded and applied sustained pressure to the home line. However, there was no way through a solid Edinburgh defence and they were forced to resort to Halfpenny's boot, as the winger kicked three fine long-range penalties to claim the victory.

Scorers -- Edinburgh: Paterson 3 pens, Cairns try. Cardiff Blues: Halfpenny 5 pens, Parks 2 pens.

Edinburgh: J Thompson; L Jones, B Cairns, N De Luca (G Laidlaw 65), S Webster (J King 16); C Paterson, M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, L Miven (D Young 69); S MacLeod, E Lozada (F MacKenzie 58); D Denton, A MacDonald, R Grant (S McInally 58).

Cardiff Blues: C Czekaj, L Halfpenny, C Laulala (D Hewitt 75), J Roberts, R Mustoe, D Parks (C Sweeney 51), T Slater, J Yapp (S Hobbs 70), T Thomas (G Williams 64), S Andrews (T Filise 61), D Jones (B Davies 61), P Tito, A Pretorius, M Williams, M Molitika.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)

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