Cardiff Blues hang on to win Boxing Day derby.
Newport Gwent Dragons 19 Cardiff Blues 21
Boxing Day, 2.10pm Kick Off Rodney Parade
A sellout crowd of 10,000 supporters turned up to a sunny Rodney Parade, to watch the Boxing Day clash between the Newport Gwent Dragons and the Cardiff Blues.
The home side were getting the better of the early encounters and Connor struck and early penalty for to give them the lead. The Blues however did show glimpses of what they were capable of with Ben Blair releasing Tom James in the Blues twenty two. The winger had the speed to cut through the defence all the way into the Dragons half before being dragged down by Fussell.
The Dragons also looked to attack and twice came close to scoring following a period on the Blues try-line. It was only solid defence from Gareth Thomas that stopped Adam Jones crashing over.
Blair struck a penalty for the Blues who were beginning to get back in the game. However, they were dealt a blow following a good Blues attack when Richard Fussell picked up a stray ball and sprinted in to touch down from the halfway line. Connor converted.
Blair and Connor exchanged penalties just before half time to give the score on the break 13-6 to the Dragons.
Half Time Newport Gwent Dragons 13 Cardiff Blues 6
The Cardiff Blues got off to great start from the refs whistle. The Blues looked to attack down the left and Jason Spice put in a neat little grubber kick for Maama Molitika to collect and touch down under the posts. Blair converted to level the scores, but Connor soon struck a penalty for the Dragons following a Gary Powell late tackle.
The Dragons had momentum and looked to attack with Fussell looking particularly dangerous when he had the ball and Connor soon extended the lead with another penalty.
However it wasnt long before the Blues struck back. Good build up work by Tom Shanklin saw them move into the Dragons twenty-two and quick ball by Spice saw Ceri Sweeney dive over in the corner, much to the delight of the home crowd. Blair missed the conversion but struck a penalty in the 70th minute to give the Blues a two point lead.
There was enough time in the match for Tom James to show his speed off the mark from the base of a ruck and charge toward the try-line before Fussell again pulled him down. It would be a tense end to the game with only two points in it and the finale kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. Courageous Blues defence, including charging down three drop goal attempts, saw them hang in for the win.
15 Ben Blair 14 Richard Mustoe (17off27on) 13 Jamie Robinson(60off) 12 Tom Shanklin 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Jason Spice 1 John Yapp 2 Rhys Thomas (58off) 3 Gary Powell 4 Bradley Davies (58off) 5 Scott Morgan 6 Maama Molitika 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor (C) 8 Andy Powell 16 Rhys Gill 17 Gareth Williams (58on) 18 Paul Tito (58on) 19 Ben White 20 Darren Allinson 21 Nicky Robinson 22 Gareth Thomas (17on27off60on)
Tries Molitika x 1 Sweeney x 1
Penalties Blair x 3
Cons Blair x 1
Newport Gwent Dragons
Tries Fussell x 1
Penalties Connor x 3
Cons Connor x 1