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Cardiff remain perfect

Cardiff Blues made it three wins from three in the European Challenge Cup after inflicting a first defeat on London Irish in the battle for Pool One supremacy.

Geoff Cross dotted down early on to give Irish the lead but the home side battled back with tries from Richard Smith, Lloyd Williams and Kristian Dacey to claim a 24-14 win at Cardiff Arms Park.

Fly-half Gareth Anscombe converted all three scores and also added a penalty as the 2010 champions moved on to 14 points.

Irish, who were awarded a late penalty try during a late charge, remain on 10 points ahead of next weekend's return clash between the two teams at the Madejski Stadium.

Cardiff's win came after Welsh rivals Newport Gwent Dragons had earlier brushed aside the challenge of Bucharest Wolves 37-10 in snowy Romania following a second-half onslaught.

Bucharest actually led 10-0 after 16 minutes thanks to Sean Morrell's try and five points from Florin Vlaicu's boot, but the Dragons roared back to go into the break 13-10 ahead, before running away with things in the final 40 minutes as they scored 24 unanswered points.

Andrew Coombs collected a brace of tries for the Dragons, while James Thomas, Rhys Thomas and Ashley Smith also went over the whitewash, with Rhys Jones kicking 11 points and Jason Tovey adding a penalty.

The bonus-point victory leaves Newport second in Pool Three on 11 points, three behind leaders Newcastle.

It was a similar story at The Sportsground, where Connacht also stormed away in the second half to record a bonus-point victory over French club Bayonne.

Connacht only led 15-12 at the interval - having trailed 9-3 after 19 minutes - but they ended up running out 42-19 victors.

Danie Poolman scored the opening two tries for the Irish outfit, with Bundee Aki, Dave McSharry, and Willie Faloon also getting on the scoresheet in the second half as Connacht made the most of Florian Lapeyrade's 58th-minute yellow card for the visitors.

Lapeyrade had helped put Bayonne ahead 19-15 at the start of the second period with a try that was converted by Clement Otazo, but during the prop's stint in the sin-bin, Connacht scored 17 points.

Jack Carty added three conversion and three penalties for the hosts, while Craig Ronaldson slotted over another conversion, as they moved to within a point of Pool Two leaders Exeter.


From Belfast Telegraph