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RaboDirect PRO12: Cardiff Blues battle past Newport Gwent Dragons
Rhys Patchell kicked four penalties as Cardiff Blues claimed a 12-10 victory in their RaboDirect PRO12 Boxing Day clash with Newport Gwent Dragons at a muddy Arms Park.
The 19-year-old fly-half struck three times in the first half to give the hosts a 9-0 lead at the interval, before the Dragons hit back to take the lead as Andy Tuilagi crossed for the only try of the match.
But Patchell stepped up again in the 63rd minute to edge Cardiff back in front and the hosts held on until full-time to get the better of their Welsh rivals after a tough battle in treacherous conditions.
Despite playing into the wind and driving rain, it was the visitors who were to have the better of the first half in terms of possession and territory, with their set-pieces on top.
But they were unable to convert that pressure into points, with outside-half Dan Evans sending an early penalty attempt to the right of the posts and also failing with a later effort.
In contrast, the Blues took their chances when they came along as Patchell kept his nerve to kick three penalties in worsening conditions before the break.
In the second half the Dragons had the wind in their backs and it was not long before the deficit was reduced as Tuilagi scored the only try of the game on 48 minutes.
After sustained pressure on the Blues line, Tuilagi took a short pass from Michael Poole and powered in for the score, taking two players to the line with him.
Scrum-half Wayne Evans added the conversion with Dan Evans injured and it was the latter's replacement at fly-half, Lewis Robling, who put the Dragons ahead for the first time on the hour mark.
Their lead was short-lived however as Patchell promptly landed his fourth penalty, making light of the wind in his face, and Cardiff survived late pressure, including a missed drop goal attempt from Robling, to complete the win.
The result moves the Blues up two places to seventh in the table.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Saturday 6th September|
|17:00||Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:35||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:40||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow|
|Sunday 28th September|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso|
|Sunday 5th October|
|16:00||Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 11th October|
|14:40||Edinburgh vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 18th October|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|19:45||Stade Francais vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Friday 24th October|
|19:30||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle|
|Saturday 1st November|
|15:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|TBC||Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 8th November|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Munster|
|Sunday 30th November|
|16:00||Glasgow vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com