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.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength