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Blues settle score with narrow win

Cardiff Blues avenged their Boxing Day home defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons in the Guinness Pro12 as they held on in the final moments to record a first league away win since September.

There was only one try in a match which was scrappy in the opening half but livened up after the break.

That came from Blues centre Cory Allen after 17 minutes as the Cardiff side's influential Kiwi outside-half Gareth Anscombe added two penalties and was integral to their 11-9 win.

The Dragons stayed in the game due to three penalties from full-back Tom Prydie.

A lot was on the line both in terms of league position and local pride but the opening period was the complete opposite from the thrilling first meeting between the two sides at the Arms Park on Boxing Day.

Too often, possession was aimlessly kicked away as the sides struggled to make any considerable inroads into their respective opposition as the match developed.

The Dragons held the lead from almost the start when Welsh international wing Prydie, playing at full-back in this clash, landed a 30-metre penalty when the Blues strayed offside.

Anscombe, who has been heralded as something special since he came to Wales in the summer, showed just why he has had rave reviews when, after missing a 45-metre penalty, he was the playmaker in the try.

It came after pressure from the Blues in the home 22 and, as the ball went left, Anscombe threw a precise pass wide for Wales star Allen to grab, dance his way inside defending wing Matthew Pewtner and just get across the line as Pewtner tried to pull him down.

Anscombe missed a difficult conversion but he was again at the fore to keep the Dragons on their toes by scurrying past the midfield and towards the 22.

Other than this action, it was all very scrappy as handling mistakes and the struggle at the set-piece between the two packs lead to a stop-start end to the period.

Blues tight-head prop Taufa'ao Filise was penalised frequently at scrums by referee Lyn Davies and, as such, was in danger of being sin-binned so was replaced by Wales international Adam Jones at half-time.

Anscombe extended the Blues' lead with a 30-metre penalty on 42 minutes but Prydie returned the penalty after a bit of pushing and shoving on the Blues' 22.

And the Dragons had their chances to get a try, most notably when replacement scrum-half Jonathan Evans took a quick tap penalty 10 metres out but his colleagues on the left wing made a hash of the chance with a metre or so to go.

Pewtner went over for a try but it was ruled out for crossing by the Dragons. However, a third Prydie penalty gave the Gwent outfit a 9-8 lead on the hour.

The game was back and forth at either end as it came to the finale, which saw an attempted long-range drop-goal from home replacement Dorian Jones touched in flight.

It gave the Dragons a scrum five metres out but, as the clock signalled full-time, the home pack contrived to give away a penalty. Anscombe cleared and the Blues supporters cheered at gaining their revenge.


From Belfast Telegraph