Dismal Blues see off Treviso
April 21, 2011
Xavier Rush scored Cardiff Blues' second try
© Getty Images
Cardiff Blues beat Benetton Treviso 29-9 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday night to move into the Magners League play-off places, but fell well short of the bonus-point triumph required to oust Leinster from second spot.
A healthy crowd watched a dire game between two sides lacking ambition and the result will please Leinster, Ulster and the Ospreys as the season run-in intensifies. The Blues must find an extra gear before next weekend's vital derby against the Dragons, their game in hand.
Dan Parks kicked 19 points for the hosts but couldn't provide an attacking spark, with a penalty try and Xavier Rush surge from a maul their only other scores on a night when Treviso did not look like contributing aside from the kicking of Willem de Waal.
The South African fly-half opened the scoring with a third minute penalty, but the Blues struck back with three Parks kicks in five minutes to wrestle the early momentum from the visitors.
The Blues lost Wales winger Leigh Halfpenny to an ankle injury after only 12 minutes, which will worry Warren Gatland, and his knock also came after a disappointing missed opportunity. Beautiful hands by Casey Laulala opened up Treviso but Chris Czekaj opted to go it alone when he should have fed his winger, who was on a run to the line.
De Waal and Parks traded further penalties before the Blues forced the visitors into repeat offences, Alessandro Zanni and Michele Rizzo seeing yellow in the space of five minutes just before the break. The hosts capitalised with a penalty try, Treviso flanker Manoa Vosawai infringing as the Blues rolled a scrum towards the line.
De Waal landed his third penalty just before the break and Parks showed his side's dearth of ideas by cancelling it out with one of his own 12 minutes into the second period.
As a result of Halfpenny's injury and the required reshuffle, which saw centre Jamie Roberts shift to fullback, the Blues found their midfield advantage neutralised and they failed to create anything of note before Rush barrelled over off the back of a maul on 71 minutes.
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