Blues hammer Edinburgh
April 22, 2012
Blues winger Alex Cuthbert crossed for a hat-trick of tries at the Cardiff City Stadium
© PA Photos
Edinburgh warmed up for their Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Ulster next weekend with a crushing 38-13 defeat at the hands of Cardiff Blues.
The Blues bade farewell to a dozen departing players - including veteran Martyn Williams - and, possibly, to the Cardiff City Stadium - with a six-try victory including a hat-trick from reported transfer target Alex Cuthbert.
The Welsh region are considering a return next season to their old Arms Park home and the sparse 3,580 crowd for the final home game of this campaign can only have added momentum to that idea. At least those who turned up saw an end to a five-match losing streak which had prompted the Blues management to begin searching for a director of rugby to oversee novice coaches Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell.
Despite an early penalty by Edinburgh fly-half Phil Godman, the Blues dominated the first-half territory, their scrum showing much improvement after last week's battering by the high-flying Ospreys. Two of those leaving this month, New Zealanders Ben Blair and Casey Laulala, made incisive breaks to create the position from which scrum-half Lloyd Williams dived over for their opening try, which Blair converted.
The Scots seemed to have survived a dangerous gallop by left-wing Tom James, thanks to a fine tackle by veteran Chris Paterson, but then overthrew the resultant lineout, lost possession and were unable to prevent a try in the corner by Cuthbert.
Godman dropped a goal to open the second half, but Edinburgh went down to 14 men when centre John Houston was binned for a high tackle on James. After typical alertness by flanker Martyn Williams, in the final appearance of an outstanding career, the Blues ran a quick penalty and Cuthbert broke a couple of tentative tackles to reach the flag.
Skipper Bradley Davies' athleticism in the lineout paved the way for 20-year-old No.8 Luke Hamilton to barge over for the bonus-point score, before Cuthbert completed his hat-trick after popping up in the centre.
Young replacement fly-half Harry Leonard showed promise with a neat individual try, touching down his own grubber kick, to give Edinburgh some encouragement, but Blues had the last word with dreadlocked flanker Josh Navidi scoring after a break by fellow replacement Kristian Dacey.
Blair added three second-half conversions to round off a comprehensive victory over a young Edinburgh line-up for whom Roddy Grant, in an unaccustomed role at No.8, was a defiant captain.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape