Blues batter hapless Aironi
November 24, 2011
Blues centre Casey Laulala was among the try-scorers at the Cardiff City Stadium
© Getty Images
The Cardiff Blues climbed to third in the RaboDirect PRO12 standings with a facile 38-0 victory over basement boys Aironi in the Welsh capital on Thursday night.
With their Wales stars missing and Aironi not the most attractive opposition, Cardiff provided cheap tickets for several hundred primary school children - but there was little in the opening 40 minutes to encourage the youngsters to return.
Two penalties from fly-half Dan Parks gave the home side an early cushion, but despite a monopoly of possession the Welsh region lacked penetration and could manage only two further Parks kicks before the break.
Aironi made a disastrous start to the second period. Samoan centre Sinoti Sinoti was yellow carded for a high tackle on Gavin Evans and Parks fired the resultant penalty into the corner. Skipper Paul Tito won the lineout and the ball was spread right for replacement centre Casey Laulala, on for the injured Chris Czekaj, to dart in for an unconverted try.
The Italians stepped up their efforts but fly-half Naas Olivier was wide with two kickable penalties. A wayward clearance by Blues scrum-half Richie Rees gave Aironi another chance, but winger Giovanbattista Venditti could not keep the loose ball in play.
Instead, the Blues grabbed a second touchdown when Richard Mustoe and Tom James ran a kick from their own half and centre Dafydd Hewitt tore through a static defence to score.
With tackling now apparently optional for the visitors, stand-in fullback James raced over for the Blues' third try. Parks converted both. And the bonus point quickly followed, replacement hooker Marc Breeze driving over with virtually his first touch. Another substitute, Ceri Sweeney, added the extras.
A series of late penalties in the Blues 22 gave Aironi hope of scoring their first try in five league matches, but solid home defence denied them even that small consolation.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"If England flounder in the next World Cup the knives will be out - six-year contract or not." Tom Hamilton on the new contract for the England coaches
With the deadline for World Cup ticket applications now over, Tom May outlines his hopes, gripes and wishes for next year's global gathering
Floundering Leicester, exquisite Exeter and two old England players tearing up trees - it's the Monday Maul
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship and all the domestic action from the northern hemisphere