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BLUES 21 43 DRAGONS

The Dragons endured another day to forget at the Cardiff City Stadium after they succumbed to a 43-21 defeat by neighbours Cardiff Blues on Saturday evening.

19/09/2010
The Dragons endured another day to forget at the Cardiff City Stadium after they succumbed to a 43-21 defeat by neighbours Cardiff Blues on Saturday evening.
Second half tries from Will Harries and Adam Hughes were scant consolation for the Men of Gwent, who arrived in Cardiff buoyed by last week’s win over Glasgow Warriors. And it had started all so differently when flyhalf Matthew Jones slotted over a penalty after just five minutes.
Moments earlier, the game had been held up due to a serious injury to Blues centre Casey Laulala. His retirement brought little cheer for Dragons fans however, as the Blues quickly found their feet without one of their main attacking weapons.
On the quarter hour Ceri Sweeney had the opportunity to score for the home side when he successfully blocked down a Matthew Jones clearance only to fumble the ball with the line in sight. The Blues however were awarded a penalty from the resulting scrum and Ben Blair made no mistake to make it 3-3.
Within a minute the Blues had stretched their lead when Leigh Halfpenny scored under the posts after a wonderful break from Tom Shanklin on his 22.
Matthew Jones reduced the deficit to four points with another penalty but in response the Blues cranked up the intensity and after a period of pressure spent in the Dragons 22, hooker Rhys Thomas went over for another try. Blair’s conversion made the score 17-6.
Jones missed two penalties in quick succession and the Dragons’ miserable first half was compounded on 37 minutes when Ben Blair stuck over another penalty to make it 20-6.
The second half started differently however with Jones kicking a penalty within a minute of the restart to keep the Dragons’ hopes intact but Blair restored his sides’ advantage moments later with a penalty of his own after the Dragons were adjudged to have come in from the side at a ruck.
The men of Gwent’s hopes were further stirred on 57 minutes when Will Harries’ jinking run was rewarded with a try although the television replay showed that the Dragons fullback was fortunate that his knock on in the process of scoring was not picked up by referee Nigel Owens.
Jones’ conversion made the score 23-16 but the Blues to their credit responded quickly with a penalty and when Ben Castle was sent to the bin moments later for an infringement at a ruck, the Cardiff City Stadium crowd sensed that the Dragons were in trouble.
Blues hooker Rhys Thomas scored his second of the night on 67 minutes to gives the Blues an all important bonus point and the Dragon’s misery was made complete five minutes later when Xavier Rush barged over to score.
However the Dragons finished a disappointing night on a high point when substitute Adam Hughes handed off Martyn Williams to score.
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