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Magners League: Cardiff Blues 27-25 Ospreys

Cardiff Blues (17) 27
Tries: James, Mustoe Cons: Parks Pens: Parks 2, Sweeney Drops: Parks 2
Ospreys (3) 25
Tries: James, Bowe, Bishop Cons: Hook 2 Pens: Biggar, Hook

Richard Mustoe (l) celebrates after scoring the Cardiff Blues' second try
Richard Mustoe (l) celebrates after scoring the Cardiff Blues' second try

Cardiff Blues had to survive an Ospreys second-half fightback to clinch the win in a thrilling Magners League derby clash at the Cardiff City Stadium.

It looked comfortable for the home side who raced into a 24-3 lead thanks to the boot of Dan Parks and tries through Tom James and Richard Mustoe.

The Ospreys looked tired but two tries in as many minutes from Paul James and Tommy Bowe brought them back into it.

Andrew Bishop then ran over in the closing stages, but it was too late.

The win takes the Blues up to third in the table, a point behind the second-place Ospreys who came away with a losing bonus point.

It was the Blues who looked the fresher of the two sides having not played over the festive period and they welcomed back Wales centre Jamie Roberts for his first start of the season following wrist surgery.

The Ospreys were showing signs of fatigue after Monday's 60-17 win over the Scarlets and it was little surprise that they fell behind as they struggled to get going.

Parks kicked the Blues into a 6-0 lead after just six minutes when Marty Holah was penalised in quick succession.

And moments later, they stretched the visitors which led to the opening try after Chris Czekaj slipped a pass to James who went over in the corner.

Blues 27-25 Ospreys reaction

Parks failed to convert and Dan Biggar clawed three points back for the Ospreys, who lost Jerry Collins to a calf injury, but Parks kicked two quick drop-goals to give the Blues a 17-3 half-time lead.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men after the restart when props Paul James and Adam Jones were accused of negative scrummaging.

And it was the Blues who took advantage when wing Mustoe took his chance superbly to race home for the second try, which Parks converted.

Leigh Halfpenny came off the bench for the Blues after being out since October with an ankle injury, but the focus shifted to the Ospreys attack who put the Blues under prolonged pressure.

And it was to pay off on the hour when prop James scrambled over for an unconverted try after Biggar struck the post.

Then two minutes later, Ireland wing Bowe intercepted a pass by Parks to run free and bring the Ospreys back in contention.

Hook kicked a penalty to bring the score to 24-18 before Sweeney extended the home side's lead to 27-17.

But in the closing stages Bishop spotted a gap to go over and Hook converted to set up a nervous finish for the Blues, who managed to hold on.

Cardiff Blues: Czekaj; Mustoe, Laulala, Roberts, James; Parks, Rees; Jenkins, Thomas, Filise, B. Davies, Tito, Pretorius, Warburton, Molitika.
Replacements: Halfpenny for Mustoe (53), Sweeney for Parks (72), R. Williams for Thomas (79), Yapp for Filise (72), Jones for B. Davies (55), M. Williams for Molitika (66).
Not Used: Hobbs, Slater.

Ospreys: B. Davies; Bowe, Bishop, Hook, Fussell; Biggar, Nutbrown; James, Hibbard, A. Jones, Gough, A. Jones, Collins, Holah, Thomas.
Replacements: Parker for Biggar (68), M. Phillips for Nutbrown (45), Mitchell for A. Jones (46), R. Jones for Collins (27).
Not Used: Bennett, Bevington, Evans, N. Walker.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU).

Att: 22,160

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