Edinburgh heap woe on Blues
January 9, 2010
Cardiff Blues' Martyn Williams gets to grips with Edinburgh's David Young during the clash at Murrayfield © PA Photos
Edinburgh hoisted themselves back up to third spot in the Magners League with a 21-12 win over Cardiff at an icy Murrayfield.
Flanker Ross Rennie and winger Jim Thompson crossed for the Scottish side's first tries in four matches to propel their side to a hard-fought win with fullback Chris Paterson kicking three penalties and a conversion. The Blues were limited to three penalties from fly-half Ceri Sweeney and a further three-pointer from fullback Leigh Halfpenny.
The home side showed the greater flair throughout and snuffed out the Blues' attacking efforts with some rock-solid defence in which the makeshift back-row of Alan MacDonald, Roddy Grant and Ross Rennie were outstanding. Rookie fly-half Rory Hutton had a dream debut, setting up the opening try for Edinburgh which proved to be the turning point of the game.
The Edinburgh pack was under pressure from the first scrum and Cardiff made the opening dent with a Ceri Sweeney dart down the wing and from the move infield, Edinburgh infringed to give Sweeney the simplest of penalties to open the scoring. Chris Paterson levelled the scores a couple of minutes later and then put the hosts ahead on the quarter hour, after Gareth Cooper was penalised for injudicious use of the boot at a ruck. But Sweeney soon tied the scores after Blues' centre Casey Laulala had threatened to break through the Edinburgh defence.
There was little at this stage to warm the 1,565 crowd in sub-zero temperatures and the conditions played a part in the numerous mistakes on both sides, but as Edinburgh started to enjoy more territory and possession they were turned over with ease any time a threat built up until a moment of magic from Hutton brought the game to life.
The 22-year-old got scrappy ball on the 10-yard line and with a jink and outrageous dummy broke through the defence. He was hauled down just short of the line but Rennie took the scoring pass to claim Edinburgh's first try in four games. Paterson converted and the home side went in to the interval with a seven-point lead they just about deserved.
Edinburgh came out all guns blazing in the second half and a superb combined move between Thompson and Tim Visser ended with Visser putting his fellow wing over for the try, Paterson missing the conversion. The Cardiff pack cranked up their game as the match edged away from them. Andy Powell led a surge on the Edinburgh line but it was the flame- haired Grant who again was the rock on which the attack foundered as he stole the ball, burst free and cleared the danger.
The Scots continued to look the more dangerous side and when prop Allan Jacobsen barrelled through on a 30-yard canter a score looked on the cards, but over-eagerness to add to their two tries was the home side's undoing. As the final quarter approached Leigh Halfpenny surged from fullback, collected his own kick and won a penalty which he duly converted, and Sweeney trimmed the gap further when he slotted his third penalty in the 64th minute.
But Paterson's penalty with twelve minutes left denied Cardiff a losing bonus point and, although they came close as desperation set in, there was no way they could breach an Edinburgh defence which had been defiant throughout.