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Blues claim derby spoils
Patchell sticks boot into Dragons
Fly-half Rhys Patchell kicked 11 points as Cardiff Blues downed rivals Newport Gwent Dragons 16-5 at Rodney Parade in the RaboDirect Pro12.
A Steffan Jones try helped give Newport a 5-3 half-time lead but Cardiff hit back after the break to take the victory thanks to a try from Alex Cuthbert and the boot of Patchell.
It took 37 minutes for the first points to be scored but, after a slow start, the derby burst into life with plenty of blood and thunder by both sides.
Wales coach Warren Gatland watched in the crowd as he assessed his probable and possible players for the Tests in November.
And there was no quarter given by Welsh team-mates, going at each other with vigour, and fully illustrated when Wales captain Sam Warburton was put down by his national back-row colleague Dan Lydiate with a thump in the first half.
Home wing Tom Prydie was the first to try and break the deadlock as the match warmed up but his mid-range shot at goal went wide.
The Blues could have scored when a great break from Patchell saw him find centre Dafydd Hewitt who, in turn, passed inside for co-centre Gavin Evans to have a clear run to the line but the move was halted for a forward pass.
However, it signalled far more enterprise from the teams and, after Jones saw a massive 53-metre kick hit a Blues post and then the crossbar on its way down, Cuthbert made a superb break through the floundering home midfield.
The Wales ace looked on course to cross as he stormed upfield but was hauled down by Prydie.
Eventually, Patchell did open the scoring with a 42-metre penalty but any hopes the visitors had of going into the break in front were ruined as a surge upfield saw home prop Phil Price feed Jones to beat Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams to the line for his unconverted touchdown.
And the Blues found themselves struggling again early into the second half.
A charge downfield from Price saw the Blues defend desperately at a ruck before the home loose-head picked up and drove to the line. The Third Match Official had a long look but did not give the try.
The Blues then lost prop Nathan Trevett to the sin-bin for not rolling away from that attacking ruck.
However, the Cardiff region found their way near the home 22 and were gifted a try when the Dragons fumbled ball for Cuthbert to score near the posts, with Patchell converting.
As the half progressed, there was bucketloads of passion and endeavour from both sides, with the Dragons getting the edge in territory, but no real ideas from either team of how to break strong defences.
The Blues tried bombarding the home side with high balls to the full-back position but few had much of a positive effect.
Prydie and Patchell both missed penalties, but eventually the Blues pulled clear and denied the Dragons a losing bonus point as Patchell landed two penalties within two minutes late on.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:00||Zebre vs Treviso|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Dragons vs Cardiff Blues|
|17:00||Connacht vs Munster|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Zebre|
|14:40||Leinster vs Ulster|
|17:05||Scarlets vs Ospreys|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:35||Connacht vs Edinburgh|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|15:00||Zebre vs Munster|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Ulster|
|16:00||Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Connacht|
|TBC||Zebre vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|Saturday 21st February|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ulster|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Connacht|
|TBC||Leinster vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Munster|
|17:15||Glasgow vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Ospreys 17 - 15 Scarlets|
|Glasgow Warriors 16 - 6 Edinburgh|
|Friday 26th December|
|Ulster 13 - 10 Connacht|
|Munster 28 - 13 Leinster|
|Cardiff Blues 17 - 23 Dragons|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Dragons 25 - 11 Zebre|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Ospreys 31 - 20 Ulster|
|Glasgow Warriors 21 - 18 Munster|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Edinburgh 48 - 0 Treviso|
|Leinster 21 - 11 Connacht|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Glasgow Warriors 19 - 15 Dragons|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Connacht 14 - 8 Scarlets|
|Leinster 18 - 12 Ospreys|
|Zebre 18 - 10 Edinburgh|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Munster 21 - 20 Ulster|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster|
|Friday 21st November|
|Ulster 25 - 16 Ospreys|
|Connacht 43 - 3 Zebre|
|Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow Warriors|
|Dragons 12 - 38 Munster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com