Cardiff romp past Calvisano
October 11, 2008
Tom Shanklin was on the scoresheet for the Cardiff Blues
© Getty Images
Cardiff Blues powered to a comfortable eight-try victory over Italian champions Calvisano in their Heineken Cup Pool Six clash.
Ma'ama Molitika, Jason Spice, Tom Shanklin, Ben Blair, Nick Robinson, Leigh Halfpenny and Gareth Thomas all went over, with a penalty try also added to the Blues' tally to put the Italian side to the sword with ease.
Justin Purll went over in the first half as the hosts briefly threatened a shock result. But they were little match for the strength and pace of the Welsh region who breezed through with a devastating second-half blitz of tries.
Cardiff opened their account when Molitika galloped through two tackles to score on nine minutes after Gareth Thomas had stretched Calvisano out wide. Blair missed the conversion and moments later the Blues were reduced to 14 men for the first time when Deiniol Jones was shown the yellow card for his high tackle on fly-half Gerard Fraser, who picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty.
Despite being a man down, it was Cardiff who extended their lead during the 10-minute spell. Blair kicked a penalty before Alessandro Zanni deliberately blocked Jamie Robinson from racing onto a kick from Cardiff pressure on their own goal line, and French referee awarded a penalty try.
Blair converted and Cardiff appeared to be on course for a comfortable win at 15-3 ahead, but Australian Purll picked a hole in their close-quarter defence and stormed in from 25 yards out to bring the home crowd to life.
Fraser converted and Calvisano confidence grew as Jamie Robinson was ruled to have fouled during the build-up to the try, and was the second Cardiff player into the sin bin in the half.
Blair and Paul Griffin exchanged penalties to leave the Blues 18-13 ahead at the break. That was as close as Calvisano got as the Blues steadied the ship and produced some devastating attacking rugby, helped by some horrendous Italian defending.
Spice got Cardiff on track just three minutes into the second half when he latched onto a clever long pas from hooker Rhys Thomas' lineout. Thomas was again provider moments later when Shanklin brought up the bonus point. Blair raced onto Robinson's delightful floated inside pass on 51 minutes before the fly-half scored a deserved try himself, the pick of the bunch after Andy Powell's initial break.
Calvisano skipper Leonardo Ghiraldini grabbed a consolation score just after an hour to reduce the damage on the scoreboard. But Shanklin put 19-year-old Halfpenny over in the corner before Thomas grabbed the easiest score of his long career after Calvisano lost possession behind their own goal line.
Calvisano: McLean, Forcucci, A. Pratichetti, M. Pratichetti, Nitoglia, Fraser, Griffen, Tui, Ghiraldini, Evans, Bernabo, Sidoli, Zanni, Persico, Purll.
Replacements: Stanojevic for McLean (59), Raineri for Fraser (35), Patelli for Griffen (75), McKenzie for Tui (52), Moreno for Evans (59), Dal Maso for Sidoli (41), Zaffri for Persico (64).
Cardiff Blues: Blair, Halfpenny, J. Robinson, Shanklin, G. Thomas, N. Robinson, Spice, Jenkins, T. Thomas, G. Powell, Jones, Tito, Molitika, M. Williams, A. Powell.
Replacements: Sweeney for N. Robinson (67), Rees for Spice (53), Filise for Jenkins (64), Morgan for Tito (53), Sowden-Taylor for Molitika (53).
Not Used: G. Williams, J. Roberts.
Sin Bin: Jones (15), J. Robinson (29).
Heineken Man of the Match: N Robinson (Cardiff Blues)
Referee: Jeromé Garces (France)
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September