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Cardiff second-half show keeps Champions Cup hopes alive

Cardiff Blues kept their slim European Rugby Champions Cup hopes alive with a 57-20 demolition of Benetton Treviso.

Tries from Nick Williams and Blaine Scully gave the Blues a narrow 17-13 lead at half-time after Ian McKinley went over for the Italians.

But the Blues ran riot in the second-period.

Steven Shingler, Sion Bennett and Kristian Dacey all went over within 10 minutes of the restart.

Angelo Esposito crossed for the Italians but Willis Halaholo, Matthew Morgan and Alex Cuthbert scored further Cardiff tries to earn the Blues their first league win since Boxing Day.

Williams had already given Treviso a warning with a strong carry in the second minute, but he struck moments later to give the Blues an early advantage.

The former Ulster number eight spotted space around the fringes of a ruck and powered through the hole to score from 30 metres out after five minutes.

Shingler added the conversion, but former Osprey Tito Tebaldi landed a simple penalty to cut the gap to 7-3, and he added another after 14 minutes to bring the Italians to within a single point.

Shingler brought the Blues four points clear again with a penalty before the Arms Park was stunned into silence five minutes before half-time.

Tebaldi took a quick free-kick from the back of a scrum and fed McKinley, who capitalised on some lazy defence to sneak over. Tebaldi added the extras for a 13-10 lead.

But the Blues stormed back downfield to go in with the lead at the break. Gareth Anscombe snuck over to the blindside and used neat footwork to fix two defenders and offload for Scully to score. Shingler added the extras for a 17-13 lead at the break.

The Blues turned up the tempo in the second period and got their rewards immediately after the restart.

Morgan sparked a counter-attack from his own half before finding Lloyd Williams, who sent Shingler over with the scoring pass.

Shingler converted and then turned provider when he burst down the left flank and fed Bennett for his first try in Blues colours.

Then came the moment of the match when Morgan collected a clearing kick and jinked his way past seven defenders and offloaded to Dacey who crossed.

Alex Cuthbert then went down the outside to leave two Treviso players in his wake to set up a Halaholo score after 57 minutes.

Morgan, who looked to have completed the rout with his try, gave Cuthbert the ball on halfway and the Wales wing charged home to score.


From Belfast Telegraph