Cardiff secure Aironi win
October 29, 2010
Michael Paterson secures the lineout ball during Cardiff's victory over Aironi
© Getty Images
A decisive first-half performance from Cardiff Blues saw them complete a straightforward Magners League 20-3 victory over rock bottom Aironi at the Stadio Luigi Zaffanella on Friday night.
The Welsh side looked sure bets for a bonus-point victory after taking a 17-3 half-time lead, courtesy of tries from Richard Mustoe and Lloyd Williams, but added just three more points in the second period as the winless Italians tightened up. Ceri Sweeney totalled 10 points for the Blues, successfully converting both tries and also slotting two penalties, while Ludovic Mercier kicked the hosts' only points after 29 minutes.
Blues were boosted by the availability of Wales trio Martyn Williams, John Yapp and Scott Andrews, who were freed to play by the WRU to get some game time. Williams played the full 80 minutes, while Andrews and Yapp each played a half.
The scoring began after just three minutes, Sweeney booting over a penalty to give the Blues a lead they would never come under serious pressure to surrender. The next score took a little over 15 minutes to arrive but when it did it yielded Blues' first try of the evening. Fullback Mustoe was the scorer, with Sweeney sweeping over the extras moments later.
Mercier got Aironi on the scoreboard with a successful penalty of his own but within four minutes the visitors had extended their lead again. Lloyd Williams was the man to touch down on this occasion, going over in the 33rd minute before Sweeney made it 17-3 with the conversion.
The home side prevented any further scoring in the seven minutes before the break but Cardiff must have been eyeing the two tries required for a bonus point. Sweeney kicked a penalty just two minutes after the restart, but the visitors surprisingly failed to trouble the scorers again.
Instead, Aironi held firm for 38 minutes without further damage, though they never looked likely to threaten a bonus point of their own.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton