Home team Away Team

Cardiff Blues

  • Williams, Thomas (2), Rush, Molitika, Blair, Thomas (2), Halfpenny,
    Penalty goals: Blair,
    Conversions: Blair (7),
62 - 20

Calvisano

  • Pratichetti, Garcia,
    Penalty goals: Fraser (2),
    Conversions: Fraser (2),

Cardiff earn top seeding

Welsh side will play at home in last eight after demolishing Calvisano

Last updated: 24th January 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Cardiff earn top seeding

Blair: influential display

Related links

Teams

Players

Also see

Cardiff Blues secured a home quarter-final with a 62-20 victory over Calvisano in their final Heineken Cup Pool Six fixture.

The Blues came into the match already guaranteed a place in the last eight but needed a bonus-point win to ensure top seeding for the knockout phase.

And they made no mistake, running in nine tries to see off their Italian opponents, who finished bottom of the standings having lost every game.

Gareth Thomas (2), Rhys Thomas (2), Ben Blair, Leigh Halfpenny, Xavier Rush, Martyn Williams and Maama Molitika all touched down, while Blair also kicked seven conversions and a penalty for a 22-point haul on his return from injury.

Calvisano's chances, already slim, were not helped when captain Leonardo Ghiraldini limped off after only seven minutes, yet 60 seconds later they took a shock lead.

New Zealand-born fly-half Gerard Fraser charged down opposite number Nicky Robinson's kick and centre Gonzalo Garcia hacked the loose ball ahead and won the foot race to touchdown.

High point

Fraser landed the conversion for a seven-point advantage but that was the high point of the visitors' evening.

The Blues responded with veteran wing Thomas breaking through two tackles to score a try awarded after consultation with the video referee about the grounding.

Blair missed the conversion and then conceded an easy penalty which Fraser slotted over, but the Kiwi full-back was soon back in credit.

He fed winger Halfpenny and took a return pass to race clear to the posts, providing himself with a simple conversion, and then added a penalty to further settle the Arms Park nerves.

Continued home pressure led to a move which spread quickly to the right, where the flying Halfpenny raced over close to the flag, Blair's conversion giving the scoreboard the sort of appearance most had expected.

Rush impact

Rush replaced Andy Powell at half-time and within three minutes of his arrival he broke from a scrum and strolled over without a hand laid on him to secure the bonus point.

Fraser kicked a penalty for Calvisano, but it was only a brief interruption before a neat cross-kick from Robinson was taken by Gareth Thomas, who handed replacement hooker Rhys Thomas the try.

As both sides rang the changes, the Italians grabbed another breakaway try, from Matteo Pratichetti, but Rhys Thomas stretched over to cancel it over with his second score.

A yellow card for Calvisano prop Gabriel Bocca, who had only just entered the fray, opened the floodgates.

Flankers Williams and Molitika, with a 50-yard gallop, and Gareth Thomas all crossed, sending the Blues past the 56 points they recorded in Italy in October and establishing a new best for the region in this competition.

Sky Bet Odds:

Click Here for Your Free Bet
Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
Sunday 26th October
15:15Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
14:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
TBCUlster vs Scarlets

Experts & Blogs

Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com