Cardiff Blues avenge shock defeat with crushing win over Treviso
Cardiff Blues avenged their shock defeat in Treviso with an eight-try 56-8 thrashing of the Italians at the Arms Park.
In February, the Italians picked up their first league win of the season with a 13-7 win but they never looked like repeating it as Blues climbed to seventh in the PRO12 table and maintained their hopes of a European Champions Cup berth for next season.
Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins, Rey Lee-Lo, Manoa Vosawai, Tom James, Dan Fish, Rhys Patchell and Kristian Dacey scored tries for Blues with Gareth Anscombe converting three and kicking two penalties. Replacement Jarrod Evans added two conversions. A try from Marco Lazzaroni and a penalty from Jayden Hayward was Treviso's response.
Blues fielded one of their strongest sides of the season with internationals Gethin Jenkins, Sam Warburton, Anscombe and James all back in the starting line-up.
Wales coach Warren Gatland was present at the game and it was his captain, Warburton, who made the first impression with a 30-metre burst before kicking ahead but the ball bounced unfavourably for the flanker and the chance was lost.
However, it did not take long for Blues to open the scoring when Jenkins finished off a driving line-out with only eight minutes on the clock.
Anscombe converted and exchanged penalties with Hayward to give Blues a 10-3 lead at the end of an error-ridden first quarter as both sides made frequent handling errors to carelessly lose possession.
The crowd had something to cheer when Lloyd Williams made a superb clean break to put Treviso on the back foot. The Italians were penalised, with Anscombe declining a kick at goal in favour of a more attacking option but Blues could not capitalise as they conceded a penalty.
Cardiff were able to maintain the pressure, though, and scored their second after 32 minutes when Navidi drove over to reward further skilful play from Williams and Lee-Lo.
Treviso suffered a further setback when flanker Marco Barbini was helped off with a leg injury to be replaced by Andrea De Marchi.
It was 17-3 at the interval and within two minutes of the restart Blues had sealed the game when Lee-Lo dummied his way over for his first try for Blues.
Blues continued to dominate the third quarter as they penned the Italians in their own 22 but some plucky defending from the visitors kept their opponents temporarily at bay.
However, the Italian defence just had to give and it did when Dacey forced his way over from close range and Cardiff had a healthy 27-3 lead at the end of the third quarter.
A spirited Treviso then produced their best attacking movement of the match and were rewarded with a try from Lazzaroni before Anscombe's second penalty and a try from Vosawai emphasised Blues' superiority.
The hosts completed the rout when wings Fish and James and Patchell all scored tries in the last 10 minutes as the Italian defence fell apart.