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Page last updated at 19:21 GMT, Saturday, 18 September 2010 20:21 UK

Magners League: Blues 43-21 Dragons

Cardiff Blues (20) 43
Tries: Halfpenny, R Thomas 2, Rush Cons: Blair 4 Pens: Blair 5
NG Dragons (6) 21
Tries: Harries, Adams Cons: Jones Pens: Jones 3

Leigh Halfpenny goes over for the Blues' first try
Wing Leigh Halfpenny goes over for the Blues' first try

Cardiff Blues posted a bonus-point win over Newport Gwent Dragons in a breathless Magners League Welsh derby at Cardiff City Stadium.

The opening period was marred by the sight of home centre Casey Laulala being stretchered off in a neck brace.

But the mood was lifted by tries from Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Thomas (2) and, after the break, Xavier Rush.

Dragons points came from Will Harries and Adam Hughes tries and fly-half Matthew Jones' boot.

In an incident-packed opening salvo, the Dragons went ahead through a Matthew Jones penalty while Laulala lay motionless on the pitch after a big collision with opponent Rhodri Gomer-Davies.

The Blues were caught offside as the visitors launched a wave of attacks that ended when wing Matthew Pewtner failed to gather fly-half Jones' cross kick.

Ex-New Zealand All Black Laulala was already receiving treatment while Jones lined up his shot at goal and the Blues centre was stretchered off in a neck brace.

Blues fly-half Sweeney knocked on after charging down a Jones clearance, denying the hosts an opening try.

But the visitors gave full-back Ben Blair the chance to equalise in the 13th minute and three minutes later the home side produced some magical inter-play for Leigh Halfpenny to race over in his first competitive start of the season.

The Wales and British and Irish Lions wing profited from another fellow double international's groundwork.

Tom Shanklin opened up the Dragons defence by drawing them left before executing a neat one-two with Sweeney before handing on to Blair, who found Halfpenny in support.

Blair converted only for Jones to strike back with a penalty.


However, Dai Young's side produced another flowing movement to send hooker Rhys Thomas bouncing over, Blair adding the conversion and another penalty to give his side a 20-6 half-time lead.

The Dragons came out after the break determined to match the Blues for scoring ability and succeeded in making their mark with some impressive work of their own.

Paul Turner's side reward came when Gomer-Davies and Tom Riley freed wing full-back Will Harries.

The Dragons' most recently-capped player somehow managed to stay in play as he rounded the Blues defence on the touchline before powering over despite Blair's best attempt at halting his progress, Jones converting superbly from the wide angle.

But the visitors were soon back under pressure after prop Ben Castle fell foul of the tackle laws to find himself in the sin-bin.

Hooker Thomas went over for his second try after 68 minutes as the extra man told on the Dragons' defence, taking the final pass from front-row colleague Gethin Jenkins.

The Blues came close to a bonus point try when Xavier Rush sent Sweeney haring for the posts, where he was halted short.

Moments the later, Rush quickly took a penalty and despite being halted, stretched out his arm far enough to put the ball on the line.

Blair converted and added a penalty before Dragons replacement Adam Hughes went over for a late consolation try.

Cardiff Blues: Blair, Halfpenny, Laulala, Shanklin, Czekaj, Sweeney, L. Williams, Jenkins, Thomas, Andrews, B. Davies, Tito, Molitika, M. Williams, Rush.

Replacements: Hewitt for Laulala (7), R. Williams for Thomas (78), Yapp for Andrews (53), Paterson for Molitika (48).

Not Used: Filise, Jones, Rees, Parks.

Newport Gwent Dragons: Harries, Pewtner, Riley, Gomer-Davies, A. Brew, M. Jones, W. Evans, Gustafson, S. Jones, Castle, Charteris, Sidoli, Lydiate, Sowden-Taylor, G. Thomas.

Replacements: Hughes for Pewtner (48), Connor for M. Jones (77), Griffiths for W. Evans (78), Burns for S. Jones (78), Morgan for Sidoli (55), Coombs for Lydiate (77).

Not Used: Hall, Coundley.

Att: 11,194

Ref: Nigel Owens (WRFU).

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see also
Laulala to miss Treviso encounter
20 Sep 10 |  Cardiff Blues
Dragons sign Cheeseman from Bath
16 Sep 10 |  NG Dragons
Magners League 2010/11
02 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12 table
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Regional rugby archive
07 Jul 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh

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