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Page last updated at 19:54 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 20:54 UK

Blues 21-22 Edinburgh

Blues (10) 21
Tries: Czekaj, G Thomas. Cons: Blair. Pens: Blair 3.
Edinburgh (14) 22
Tries: MacDonald, Visser, Paterson. Cons: Paterson 2. Pens: Paterson.

Blues wing Chris Czekaj was fortunate to be awarded his try
Cardiff Blues wing Chris Czekaj was fortunate to be awarded his try

Edinburgh spoiled Cardiff Blues' first competitive match at their new Cardiff City Stadium home with a narrow win.

A late try from Gareth Thomas gave the Blues the chance to snatch victory but Ben Blair missed the tough conversion.

In truth it was Edinburgh who deserved it more, having scored three Phil Godman-inspired tries from Tim Visser, Alan MacDonald and Chris Paterson.

Blues' other try was a controversial score from Chris Czekaj, the wing seemingly in touch before scoring.

The honour of scoring the first competitive try at the Cardiff City Stadium went to the visitors, who had also spoiled the Blues' farewell to the Arms Park at the end of last season.

Edinburgh patiently worked their way into striking distance and Paterson suckered Blues flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor into flying out of defensive alignment.

That left a huge hole for fly-half Godman to race through on the inside ball and send MacDonald over under the posts, allowing Paterson a simple conversion.

Although Blair got the Blues off the mark soon after with a penalty, the home side was struggling to find any fluency in front of a 8,124-strong crowd.

Blues will get better - Rush

On one hand the Blues half-backs were getting precious little quick ball to work with, but Australian fly-half Sam Norton-Knight looked hesitant with whatever possession came his way and was erratic in his kicking.

Edinburgh, last season's Magners League runners-up, continued to boss proceedings and it was no surprise when they scored a second try.

After working over the Blues defence with a series of probes, Godman broke through again to send Visser over on his left wing for another seven-pointer.

The Blues needed help and inspiration, and they got a huge slice of both seven minutes before half-time.

The inspiration came from number eight Xavier Rush, who picked from the base of a scrum and drove deep into the Edinburgh half.

Despite some dawdling by scrum-half Gareth Cooper at the ruck, Czekaj was eventually left with some space to work with on the left and the wing drove for the line.

Edinburgh lock Scott MacLeod - the former Scarlets player - made the tackle and clearly dragged Czekaj's toes into touch.

But help came in the shape of the assistant referee, who somehow missed what had happened on the whitewash and referee Peter Fitzgibbon was left with no reason to doubt a try had been scored.

A sublime touchline conversion from Blair ensured that the Blues trailed just 14-10 at the break.

Paterson had missed a long-range penalty deep into first-half injury time but was soon on the scoresheet again after the restart.


Godman's cross-kick saw Mark Robertson soar above Czekaj to gather the ball and pop it to his full-back to canter in from halfway.

Paterson surprisingly failed to convert his own try but made amends with a later penalty, although Blair was on target with two kicks to keep the Blues within a score going into the last quarter.

Norton-Knight was put out of his misery in favour of Ceri Sweeney coming off the bench, while Blues boss Dai Young also freshened up his pack.

The Blues looked better for the changes and began to enjoy both possession and field territory against a still well-organised Scottish defence.

With five minutes remaining Gareth Thomas produced a vintage run down the right wing, taking Dafydd Hewitt's pass and carving his way over the line.

But agonisingly Blair, who had kicked immaculately all night, hooked the conversion across the face of the posts.

That kick would have inched the Blues into the lead, but as it was they had to settle for a losing bonus point while Edinburgh go home with the spoils.

Cardiff Blues director of rugby Dai Young:
"It was hugely disappointing although we were better second half.

"Perhaps we could have nicked it but, let's be honest, that's exactly what it would have been.

"Now is not the time to panic... but there's a lot of work to be done and I've just said to the players that we've got to do it together."

Edinburgh captain Allister Hogg:
"In the recent past we've performed well against them and I thought we played really well the first half, cut them open a few times.

"But credit to the Blues they came back at us in the second half and we managed just to hold on there.

"We really targeted this game to come down and get an away win."

Cardiff Blues: Ben Blair; Leigh Halfpenny, Gareth Thomas, Dafydd Hewitt, Chris Czekaj; Sam Norton-Knight, Gareth Cooper; Darren Morris, Gareth Williams, Gary Powell, Bradley Davies, Paul Tito (capt), Maama Molitika, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Xavier Rush.
Replacements: Taufa'ao Filise for Morris (47), T Rhys Thomas for G. Williams (59), Scott Morgan for Davies (73), Sam Warburton for Sowden-Taylor (60), Richie Rees for Cooper (74), Ceri Sweeney for Norton-Knight (61), Dafydd James.

Edinburgh: Chris Paterson; Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, John Houston, Tim Visser; Phil Godman, Greig Laidlaw; Allan Jacobsen, Andrew Kelly, Geoff Cross, Craig Hamilton, Scott MacLeod, Alan MacDonald, Roddy Grant, Allister Hogg (capt).
Replacements: Sean Crombie, Kyle Traynor for Jacobsen (52), Steve Turnbull for MacLeod (57), Fraser McKenzie, Ross Samson, David Blair for Godman (62), Nick De Luca for Cairns (59).

Att: 8,124

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland).

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see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12 table
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Regional rugby archive
07 Jul 03 |  Welsh
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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