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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
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Dragons|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 17th January|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Rovigo|
|Saturday 24th January|
|TBC||Grenoble vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 31st January|
|15:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|Saturday 21st February|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh|
|Saturday 7th March|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Saturday 13th December|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|London Irish 34 - 23 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 6th December|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 14 London Irish|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 14th November|
|Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets|
|Friday 7th November|
|Newcastle 21 - 22 Cardiff Blues|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com