Halfpenny boots Blues to victory
January 22, 2011
Ben Cairns scored the only try in Edinburgh but it wasn't enough to earn the home side a win
© PA Photos
Leigh Halfpenny landed four unanswered penalties in the final quarter as the Cardiff Blues came from behind to round off their Heineken Cup campaign with a 21-14 victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday evening.
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 Pool 1.
The Blues made a lively start and opened their account inside two minutes when Scotland fly-half Dan Parks slotted a 20-metre penalty. That breakthrough roused Edinburgh and the hosts restored parity when Paterson - starting at outside-half for the first time since rejoining the club from Gloucester in 2008 - 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 get boot to ball before plunging 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, and another miss by Parks proved to be the Scotland No.10's final involvement before he was replaced by Ceri Sweeney.
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 to trim the deficit to two points.
Another long-range effort by the winger nudged the visitors in front, and he extended the advantage when he steered his next effort between the sticks from 45 metres - with Edinburgh flanker Alan MacDonald receiving a yellow card for giving away the three-point opportunity.
Halfpenny finally established daylight between the sides with his fifth penalty as the Blues ended a disappointing campaign with a victory.
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