Blues end home campaign on a high

The Cardiff Blues bade farewell to a dozen departing players - and, possibly, to the Cardiff City Stadium - with a six-try 38-13 victory over an Edinburgh side whose focus is on next weekend's Heineken Cup semi-final in Ulster.


The Welsh region are considering a return next season to their old Arms Park home and the sparse 3,580 crowd for the final home game of this campaign can only have added momentum to that idea.

At least those who turned up saw an end to a five-match losing streak which had prompted the Blues management to begin searching for a director of rugby to oversee novice coaches Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell.

And Wales Grand Slam hero Alex Cuthbert, widely expected to join the summer exodus to France, signed off with three tries in a man-of-the-match performance.

Despite an early penalty by Edinburgh fly-half Phil Godman, the Blues dominated the first-half territory, their scrum showing much improvement after last week's battering by the high-flying Ospreys.

Two of those leaving this month, New Zealanders Ben Blair and Casey Laulala, made incisive breaks to create the position from which scrum-half Lloyd Williams dived over for their opening try, which Blair converted.

The Scots seemed to have survived a dangerous gallop by left-wing Tom James, thanks to a fine tackle by veteran Chris Paterson, but then overthrew the resultant lineout, lost possession and were unable to prevent a try in the corner by Cuthbert.

Godman dropped a goal to open the second half, but Edinburgh went down to 14 men when centre John Houston was binned for a high tackle on James.

After typical alertness by flanker Martyn Williams, in the final appearance of an outstanding career, the Blues ran a quick penalty and Cuthbert broke a couple of tentative tackles to reach the flag.

Skipper Bradley Davies' athleticism in the lineout paved the way for 20-year-old No 8 Luke Hamilton to barge over for the bonus-point score, before Cuthbert completed his hat-trick after popping up in the centre.

Young replacement fly-half Harry Leonard showed promise with a neat individual try, touching down his own grubber kick, to give Edinburgh some encouragement, but Blues had the last word with dreadlocked flanker Josh Navidi scoring after a break by fellow replacement Kristian Dacey.

Blair added three second-half conversions to round off a comprehensive victory over a young Edinburgh line-up for whom Roddy Grant, in an unaccustomed role at No 8, was a defiant captain.

In Sunday's other match, DTH van der Merwe's late try sealed Glasgow Warriors a narrow 13-8 victory over Benetton Treviso and kept the Warriors on course for the play-offs.

The Canadian wing marked his comeback from injury with the try three minutes from time as Glasgow finally saw off a spirited Treviso effort.

Glasgow retained their place in the top four and Sean Lineen's men will carry a four-point cushion into next weekend's game against Connacht.

But for long spells today it appeared as if Treviso would leave with the spoils and they took the lead after 10 minutes with a try from Brendan Williams.

Italian fly-half Kris Burton launched Tommaso Benvenuti through a gap before wing Williams beat the Glasgow cover defence to score his sixth league try of the season.

Burton missed the conversion as the heavens opened in northern Italy, prompting Glasgow to keep the ball in the forwards.

After a 20th-minute drive from Alistair Kellock, Treviso lock Corniel Van Zyl was caught offside at the ruck and Duncan Weir slotted home his first penalty for Glasgow.

Treviso scrum-half Edoardo Gori and Kellock were sin-binned for fighting after half an hour and the Italian side retained their narrow lead into the interval.

Burton then missed a drop-goal effort before Glasgow full-back Stuart Hogg launched a counter-attack, which saw Graeme Morrison go within yards of the Treviso line.

The Italians strayed offside and Weir kicked Glasgow into the lead for the first time in the game after 61 minutes.

Treviso hit back with a Burton penalty five minutes from time and it appeared as if they would close out the victory when Ruaridh Jackson missed a shot at goal.

But Van der Merwe proved Glasgow's match-winner on his return to action after recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered at the World Cup.

He cut through the Treviso defence to touch down in the 77th minute and Jackson's conversion wrapped up the narrow victory.

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