Blues up to third after easy win

PA Sport
Dan Parks
.

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Dan Parks

Cardiff Blues put a poor first half behind them to crush bottom club Aironi 38-0 and move into third place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table.

With their Wales stars missing and Aironi not the most attractive opposition, Cardiff provided cheap tickets for several hundred primary school children - but there was little in the opening 40 minutes to encourage the youngsters to return.

Dan Parks booted 16 points against the PRO12's bottom side, while second-half tries from Casey Laulala, Dafydd Hewitt, Tom James and Marc Breeze sealed an emphatic victory.

Two penalties from fly-half Parks gave the home side an early cushion, but despite a monopoly of possession the Welsh region lacked penetration and could manage only two further Parks kicks before the break.

Aironi made a disastrous start to the second period. Samoan centre Sinoti Sinoti was yellow carded for a high tackle on Gavin Evans and Parks fired the resultant penalty into the corner.

Skipper Paul Tito won the lineout and the ball was spread right for replacement centre Laulala, on for the injured Chris Czekaj, to dart in for an unconverted try.

The Italians stepped up their efforts but fly-half Naas Olivier was wide with two kickable penalties. A wayward clearance by Blues scrum-half Richie Rees gave Aironi another chance, but winger Giovanbattista Venditti could not keep the loose ball in play.

Instead the Blues grabbed a second touchdown when Richard Mustoe and James ran a kick from their own half and centre Hewitt tore through a static defence to score.

With tackling now apparently optional for the visitors, stand-in full-back James raced over for the Blues' third try. Parks converted both. And the bonus point quickly followed, replacement hooker Breeze driving over with virtually his first touch. Another substitute, Ceri Sweeney, added the extras.

A series of late penalties in the Blues 22 gave Aironi hope of scoring their first try in five league matches, but solid home defence denied them even that small consolation.

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