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Page last updated at 21:44 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

Cardiff Blues 62-20 Calvisano

Blues (22) 62
Tries: G Thomas 2, Blair, Halfpenny , Rush, R Thomas 2, M Williams, M Molitika Cons: Blair 7 Pen: Blair

Calvisano (10) 20
Tries: Gonzalo , Pratichetti Cons: Fraser 2 Pens: Fraser 2

Skipper Martyn Williams crosses for one of nine Blues tries
Skipper Martyn Williams crosses for one of nine Blues tries

Cardiff Blues claimed a home Heineken Cup quarter-final draw with an emphatic nine-tries-to-two, 62-20 triumph over Calvisano at the Arms Park on Friday.

The visitors went into an early lead, but the Blues' sixth Pool Six win ensured they are top seeds for the knockout stage.

The hosts led 22-10 at the break and cut loose in the second-half.

Gareth Thomas and Rhys Thomas each touched down twice and Ben Blair contributed 22 points.

Blues boss Dai Young chose to field a full-strength side despite the having all-but secured a home quarter-final with a tournament run that included doubles over Biarritz and Gloucester.

But for all the confidence of that record and some typically robust running from number eight Andy Powell, the Blues found themselves conceding the opening try.


Fly-half Nicky Robinson's clearance was charged down and when full-back Ben Blair failed to halt the danger, centre Gonzalo Garcia followed up to score and Gerard Fraser converted.

Leigh Halfpenny failed with his first shot at goal in the 13th minute, but Gareth Thomas crashed over after a 20-metre run to settle home nerves.

Fraser was next to fluff a penalty attempt, slipping as he struck the ball after Scott Morgan handled at a ruck, but the visiting fly-half made amends in the 20th minute as the Blues were punished for another breakdown offence.

There was a notable shift in emphasis from the Blues at that point, another Blair run that produced quick possession at the beginning of a move, involving Halfpenny, that ended with the full-back crossing.

Blair converted his own try to put the host into a lead he extended in the 25th minute with a penalty.

Halfpenny finished off superbly in the 33rd minute for Blair to convert as the hosts began to take control of the encounter and they led 22-10 at the break.

Xavier Rush replaced Powell at half-time and was soon on the scoreboard, slipping past some weak defence for Blair to convert.

Replacement hooker Rhys Thomas followed Rush to the line and Calvisano struck back when centre Matteo Pratichetti finished off a breakaway and Fraser converted.

The initiative then swung back to Young's men with hooker Thomas claiming his second, followed by skipper Martyn Williams, fellow flanker Maama Molitika and wing Gareth Thomas' second.

Blues boss Dai Young:
"We made a little bit hard work of it, but we had to give Calvisano a bit of credit because they had a lot of possession and a lot of territory, especially early doors.

"But I thought their defence was excellent and we really had to work hard to get the scores we needed.

"On occasions we were a bit sloppy and tried the miracle ball - but nine tries, you've got to be happy with that."

Cardiff Blues: Blair, Halfpenny, Shanklin, J Roberts, G Thomas, N Robinson, Spice, Jenkins, G Williams, G Powell, D Jones, Morgan, Molitika, M Williams, A Powell.
Replacements: J. Robinson for Shanklin (56), Sweeney for N. Robinson (56), Allinson for Spice (70), R Thomas for G Williams (48), Yapp for G Powell (52), Davies for D Jones (48), Rush for A Powell (41).

Calvisano: Smith, Nitoglia, M. Pratichetti, Garcia, Forcucci, Fraser, Patelli, McKenzie, Ghiraldini, Evans, Sidoli, Treloar, Cristiano, Persico, Zanni.
Replacements: McLean for Garcia (57), Raineri for Fraser (59), Griffen for Patelli (57), Bocca for McKenzie (61), Moreno for Ghiraldini (7), Beccaris for Treloar (63), Galluppi for Zanni (75).

Att: 11,203

Referee: Romain Poite (France).

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see also
Heineken Cup 2008/9
17 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup photos
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James handed two-week suspension
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Gloucester 12-16 Blues
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Heineken Cup tables
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European rugby archive
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
27 Oct 08 |  Welsh
Scrum V's Welsh rugby webguide
14 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Welsh regions & their opponents
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