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Blues 18-17 Edinburgh

Blues (13) 18
Tries: Czekaj, Laulala. Con: Parks. Pens: Parks 2.
Edinburgh (10) 17
Tries: Jacobsen, Cairns. Cons: Paterson 2. Pen: Paterson.


Blues' Casey Laulala proved a handful for the Edinburgh defence
Blues' Casey Laulala proved a handful for the Edinburgh defence

Casey Laulala scored a try in a fine individual performance to help Cardiff Blues hold off visiting Edinburgh in their Heinken Cup Pool 1 clash.

The centre caught the eye with a series of breaks, created Chris Czekaj's opening try and broke through for a score that proved to be decisive.

Edinburgh deserved at least their losing bonus point for some adventurous play and led 10-0 early in the game.

But tries from Allan Jacobsen and Ben Cairns were not enough for victory.

Chris Paterson kicked an early penalty as reward for some Edinburgh adventure, while Blues fly-half Dan Parks missed with his first three attempts.

Visiting prop Jacobsen finished off a period of sustained pressure when he was ruled by the video referee to have forced his way over the try line from close range, with Paterson adding the conversion.

Edinburgh had been conjuring some intricate backline moves to rupture the Blues defence, but the home side had a more straightforward method of simply giving the ball to Laulala.

The New Zealander was irresistible, breaking past his opposing centres seemingly at will and putting his Blues team-mates into space.

It was Laulala who created the Welsh team's first try chance, committing two defenders while slipping the ball out to Leigh Halfpenny on the right wing.

Halfpenny seemed set to sneak in at the corner flag, only for his foot to be dragged into touch by a flying tap-tackle from Edinburgh scrum-half Mike Blair.

The Scots then lost Paterson to the sin-bin, after the full-back held onto Martyn Williams in the tackle as the Blues threatened to break through again.

Parks at last found his range to add three points from the resulting penalty and kicked a conversion five minutes later when Czekaj scored on the left.

Laulala was again the catalyst, making the half-break before passing to fellow Kiwi Paul Tito who wisely shipped the ball on to his waiting winger.

Parks added a second penalty to give the Blues a 13-10 lead at half-time, although David Blair was wide with a drop-goal that would have tied the scores at the break.

After a cagey opening to the second half at the Cardiff City Stadium - punctuated by another Parks miss at goal - Edinburgh should have retaken the lead when David Blair pounced on a loose ball.

Parks' pass was just behind Xavier Rush on the charge and Blair was on the loose ball in a flash, hacking downfield into the 22.

The fly-half overshot the ball slightly and opted to pop it up to his support rather than try to gather for himself, only for prop Geoff Cross to spill the pass with the line at his mercy.

Blues extended their slim lead thanks to a crunching tackled from prop John Yapp that, with Williams' help, turned over Edinburgh possession.

Laulala fed Rush and then followed the back-row on the inside shoulder, picking a pass off his shins for a deserved try that went unconverted - although Parks' kick was genuinely tricky close to the right touchline.

With seven minutes left David Blair sniffed a half-gap and shot through only to be dragged down just short of the Blues' line.

Mike Blair sensed where the space was and the scrum-half zipped the ball right where Cairns was waiting to race over.

Paterson's conversion trimmed the Blues' lead to 18-17 but the Scots were kept pinned in their half as the clock ticked down and had to settle for a losing bonus point.


Cardiff Blues: Blair, Halfpenny, Laulala, Shanklin, Czekaj, Parks, Rees, Jenkins, Thomas, Filise, B. Davies, Tito, Molitika, M. Williams, Rush.

Replacements: Hewitt for Shanklin (57), Yapp for Jenkins (53), Jones for Tito (60). Not Used: Sweeney, L. Williams, R. Williams, Andrews, Warburton.

Edinburgh: Paterson, Thompson, Cairns, Grove, Visser, D. Blair, M. Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, G. Cross, MacLeod, MacKenzie, MacDonald, Rennie, Grant.

Replacements: King for Grove (55), Laidlaw for M. Blair (71), Traynor for Jacobsen (71), Kelly for Ford (71), Young for G. Cross (60), Hamilton for MacLeod (62), Talei for Rennie (43), Robertson for Grant (78).

Attendance: 10,521

Referee: Romain Poite (France).



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see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
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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