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Cardiff kept alive their faint hopes of qualifying for the Amlin Challenge Cup with a 14-9 win over Pool One rivals Castres at Cardiff City Stadium.
Leigh Halfpenny scored the only try of the contest for the Blues, though they missed out on the chance to move level with their opponents.
Castres secured a losing bonus point with a late penalty from substitute Pierre Bernard to sit just ahead of the Magners League side in the battle to finish second behind group winners Northampton.
Cardiff will be kicking themselves for allowing their rivals to leave with anything after surging 11-3 ahead after 24 minutes.
However it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the opening exchanges after laying siege to the home 22. In the end they had to settle for a penalty from centre Seremaia Bai, who went on to miss a further shot at goal.
The Blues responded to the early disappointment with a pair of Dan Parks penalties, though he did fail to land a third shot at the posts.
A real battle up front offered little in the way of entertaining rugby until the home side produced a rare moment of class to get the game's only try.
Kiwi centre Casey Laulala accepted Parks' long pass out wide before putting in a clever grubber kick for winger Halfpenny to chase.
The Wales international did well to knock the ball beyond a stranded Castres player before picking it up himself and heading for the line, albeit with a looping run required to get him around the final defender.
Parks missed the conversion but did kick a penalty just two minutes into the second half, after referee Andrew Small had grown weary of Castres' persistent offending and shown a yellow card to replacement Yoan Audrin.
Yet, despite being down to 14 men, the French club still reduced the gap back down to eight points when Bai booted a penalty after 48 minutes.
The Fijian, though, missed a further effort from out wide, after the returning Audrin had intercepted an errant pass by Blues hooker Rhys Thomas.
Cardiff did threaten a second try but Paul Tito was held up short, Parks then making a mess of a straightforward drop-goal chance.
Their failure to push further clear then proved costly when Castres sub Bernard knocked over a long-range penalty, to secure what could be a vital point in the final shake-up.
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|Friday 6th December|
|20:00||Castres vs Ospreys|
|20:00||Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 7th December|
|18:00||Northampton vs Leinster|
|13:35||Exeter vs Toulon|
|13:35||Zebre vs Saracens|
|13:35||Clermont Auvergne vs Scarlets|
|15:40||Racing Metro 92 vs Harlequins|
|18:00||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|Sunday 8th December|
|15:00||Toulouse vs Connacht|
|15:00||Leicester vs Montpellier|
|12:45||Munster vs Perpignan|
|13:00||Edinburgh vs Gloucester|
|Friday 13th December|
|20:00||Ospreys vs Castres|
|20:00||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 14th December|
|18:00||Leinster vs Northampton|
|13:35||Toulon vs Exeter|
|15:00||Saracens vs Zebre|
|18:00||Connacht vs Toulouse|
|15:40||Scarlets vs Clermont Auvergne|
|13:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ulster|
|15:40||Perpignan vs Munster|
|Sunday 15th December|
|12:45||Harlequins vs Racing Metro 92|
|15:00||Montpellier vs Leicester|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Edinburgh|
|Saturday 11th January|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Northampton|
|Sunday 20th October|
|Clermont Auvergne 23 - 16 Harlequins|
|Glasgow 20 - 16 Exeter|
|Northampton 27 - 16 Ospreys|
|Perpignan 31 - 14 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 19th October|
|Scarlets 26 - 26 Racing Metro 92|
|Munster 26 - 10 Gloucester|
|Leinster 19 - 7 Castres|
|Montpellier 8 - 25 Ulster|
|Cardiff Blues 19 - 15 Toulon|
|Zebre 6 - 33 Connacht|
|Friday 18th October|
|Leicester 34 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
|Saracens 16 - 17 Toulouse|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com