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Cardiff Blues maintain perfect record as they hang on to beat Zebre


Wales wing Tom James scored Cardiff's all-important third try

Wales wing Tom James scored Cardiff's all-important third try

Wales wing Tom James scored Cardiff's all-important third try

Cardiff Blues held on to to beat winless Zebre 23-21 in Parma.

The Blues' fourth victory from four puts them second in the Guinness Pro12 table, level on points with leaders Ulster.

Tries from wing Blaine Scully and full-back Matthew Morgan aided an 18-11 interval lead for Cardiff.

Tom James crossed early in the second half to extend the advantage but centre Giulio Bisegni and wing Giovanbattista Venditti added to scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani's first-half try to keep Zebre in it.

Full-back Edoardo Padovani could not convert Venditti's 75th-minute score from out wide, meaning Cardiff prevailed. Team-mate Carlo Canna was also wayward with the boot earlier on.

Fly-halves Canna and Steven Shingler exchanged early penalties before Palazzani crossed from a line-out. Canna missed the conversion.

Shingler missed with two penalty attempts before finally landing another. Cardiff continued to fight back and, with Zebre hooker Oliviero Fabiani in the sin-bin, Scully touched down after good work from his forwards. Shingler converted.

Cardiff lock Josh Turnbull was soon sin-binned but, despite initial Zebre pressure, the visitors attacked and Morgan went over. Shingler was off target with the extras but Padovani kicked a penalty just before the break.

Zebre lock Federico Ruzza was shown a yellow card early in the second half and James soon took advantage with a try in the corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

Cardiff prop Rhys Gill was the next to see yellow and, once the visitors were back to 15 men, Bisegni scored out wide but Canna could not convert.

Both teams had chances for tries before Venditti touched down in the corner and Padovani was unable to level.

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