Cardiff give Zebre the Blues
Cardiff Blues made a winning start to their 2014-15 Guinness PRO12 season as they saw off Zebre 41-26 in Parma on Sunday.
The Welsh region had been beaten on both occasions when these sides met last term.
But this time they came away from Stadio XXV Aprile with four points plus a bonus point in the bag after notching five tries, scored by Rhys Patchell, Lloyd Williams, Dan Fish, Alex Cuthbert and Kristian Dacey.
Patchell's try, which he converted, opened the scoring in the ninth minute.
And despite the sin-binning of Filo Paulo and Luciano Orquera's subsequent penalty success, Cardiff had soon extended their advantage, with Williams' effort and a Patchell conversion making it 14-3.
Brendon Leonard crossed to reduce the deficit in the 20th minute, and after failing to convert that time, Orquera added the extras following a Filippo Ferrarini try around the half-hour mark to put Zebre in front.
But Patchell then managed to despatch a penalty from within his own half just before the break and Cardiff went in 17-15 to the good.
Zebre regained the lead shortly after the interval when, within moments of a Samuela Vunisa effort being judged not a touchdown by the video referee, Dion Berryman went over.
Orquera's kick was errant, and Cardiff swiftly hit back as tries from Fish and Cuthbert, both converted by Patchell, took the visitors 31-20 ahead.
Two Kelly Haimona penalties - either side of Blues' Gareth Davies being sin-binned - added to Zebre's score, but there was still more to come from the away side, with Dacey providing the final try in the 66th minute before Patchell capped his fine afternoon with the conversion and then another penalty.