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LV= Cup: Saracens kicked off a new era at Allianz Park with victory over Cardiff
Saracens beat Cardiff Blues 19-11 in a low-key LV= Cup match in the first professional rugby union match to be played on an artificial pitch.
It was a designated 'test event' at the £18m Allianz Park attended by 3,500 invited Saracens fans and the bold decision to abandon grass could only be viewed as a success.
The surface was in immaculate condition and appeared quick, justifying the club's promise that it would lead to a "faster, safer and more entertaining game".
The first try arrived in the 36th minute when Blues' number eight Robin Copeland pinched the ball at a Saracens lineout 15 metres out and headed for the line, riding a couple of tackles as he crashed over.
The preceding half an hour had been uneventful with Nils Mordt and Ceri Sweeney swapping penalties and also missing one apiece, ensuring the Blues led 8-6 at the interval.
Killing the ball at a ruck earned prop Sam Hobbs time in the sin-bin and Mordt punished the infringement with his third penalty.
Substitute Gareth Davies kicked the Blues to within a point with 10 minutes to go, but his fellow replacement Thomas Young was yellow carded in a lively finish.
But Saracens landed the killer blow in the closing moments when rampaging centre Duncan Taylor squirted a pass out to wing James Short who crossed, with Mordt converting.
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|Saturday 1st November|
|14:00||Sale Sharks vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|15:00||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|16:00||Northampton vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 2nd November|
|13:00||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Friday 7th November|
|19:30||Scarlets vs Northampton|
|19:35||Ospreys vs Saracens|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|20:00||Newcastle vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 8th November|
|16:30||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 9th November|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Leicester vs Sale|
|Friday 14th November|
|19:30||Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets|
|19:35||Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 31st January|
|15:00||Scarlets vs London Irish|
|15:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|15:00||Leicester vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Sale|
|15:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Ospreys|
|15:00||London Welsh vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Bath|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com