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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 April, 2005, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
Blues 33-12 Borders
Rhys Williams races in for the first Blues try
Scarlets: (19) 33:
Tries: R. Williams 2, Davies, M. Williams, Morgan.
Cons: Macleod 4.
Borders: (0) 12:
Tries: Blair, Walker.
Cons: Hore.
Att: 4,300
Cardiff Blues kept their Heineken Cup hopes alive with a bonus-point win over Borders at the Arms Park on Friday.

With Connacht losing at the Dragons on Saturday, the Blues have now qualified for a play-off against an Italian side for a place at Europe's top table.

Rhys Williams scored the Blues' early try first and the all-important fourth.

Tristan Davies, Martyn Williams and Craig Morgan also scored for the Blues, while Mark Blair and Nik Walker crossed to give Borders some consolation.

Connacht needed a bonus-point victory to pip the Blues to a play-off against the third-placed Italian club to decide entry to next year's Heineken Cup, but fell just short at Rodney Parade.

Any early Blues nerves were soon settled when Wales wing Rhys Williams, in the unfamiliar role of outside centre, jinked over after four minutes.

Then Borders number eight Kelly Brown dropped the ball in his own 22 following a scrappy lineout, allowing the other Blues centre, Davies, to dart over for his first try since joining from Leeds last summer.

Midway through the opening period, skipper Martyn Williams was driven over for a third touchdown, with Nick Macleod's two conversations extending the lead.

Gradually the Borders began to put a few moves together but, although their first venture into the home 22 saw Blues' flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor sin-binned for a professional foul, they were unable to get on the scoreboard before half-time.

We got the five points and we've done all we can do now
Blues skipper Martyn Williams

Within 10 minutes of the restart, however, lock Blair forced his way through some feeble tackling to reach the flag and give his side hope.

But a break by the Blues' American number eight Kort Schubert, well supported by lock Robert Sidoli, ended with Rhys Williams getting his second score and that vital bonus point. Macleod converted superbly.

With their goal achieved, the Blues withdrew Lions Martyn Williams and Gethin Jenkins - the Borders had already omitted their representative, Chris Cusiter.

The visitors kept plugging away and were rewarded by a try for left wing Walker, improved by Charlie Hore.

But the Blues had the final word when Morgan sprinted over in the corner, followed by another touchline conversion from Macleod.

Ulster's win over the Llanelli Scarlets in Belfast on Friday night means that the Blues will not be one of the top eight in the League who qualify for the Celtic Cup.

But the Arms Park will happily swop that for staying ahead of Connacht for the chance to play-off for a Heineken Cup spot.

Cardiff Blues: N Macleod; C Czekaj, R Williams, T Davies, C Morgan; N Robinson, R Powell; J Yapp, G Williams, G Jenkins, C Quinnell, R Sidoli, R Sowden-Taylor, M Williams (capt), K Schubert.
Replacements: N Walne, D Dewdney, B Evans, R Thomas, D Jones, M Molitika, N Thomas.

Borders: G Morton; S Moffat; S Cranston, C Macrae, N Walker; C Hore, B McKearchar; P Thompson (capt), R Ford, B Douglas, M Blair, C Stewart, J Dalziel, K Brown, A Miller.
Replacements: S Scott, G Cross, T McGee, G Kay, I Wilson, A Warnock, J Pattison.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)



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