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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
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:35||Connacht vs Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 12th October|
|16:00||Ospreys vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 18th October|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|14:30||Cardiff Blues vs Grenoble|
|Saturday 25th October|
|TBC||Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 1st November|
|15:00||Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets|
|17:15||Cardiff Blues vs Munster|
|Saturday 8th November|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|16:00||Edinburgh vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 28th November|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Benetton Treviso|
|Saturday 6th December|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs London Irish|
|Saturday 13th December|
|TBC||London Irish vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 19th December|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets|
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com