Blues claim rare victory
PRO14 REPORT: A Jason Tovey penalty ensured Cardiff Blues claimed their first win in Swansea since 2005 as they overcame Ospreys 19-16 in their opening Welsh derby dust-up at the Liberty Stadium.
The visitors came from behind twice to pour more misery on their hosts, who remain rooted to the bottom of Conference A with just one Guinness PRO14 win to their name this season.
Ospreys had opened up a seven-point lead thanks to a penalty try and two penalties from the boot of Marty McKenzie but Jarrod Evans’ second-half score put the visitors back ahead.
McKenzie found the target again to level the scores going into the final quarter but Tovey held his nerve to convert the match-winning penalty and pile more pressure on Ospreys.
First blood went to Ospreys inside the opening five minutes after the Blues were penalised for collapsing a scrum, with McKenzie stepping up to slot the opening points.
But while Ospreys continued to enjoy success by employing an aerial bombardment tactic to peg John Mulvihill’s men back, they were unable to increase their advantage.
This proved costly on 20 minutes as the Blues hit back to level the scores after Ospreys conceded a couple of penalties through Adam Beard and collapsing a maul.
Evans opened the scoring for the visitors and added a second three-pointer five minutes later after Wales scrum-half Aled Davies was pinged for side entry at the ruck.
Ospreys almost responded immediately when Blues conceded a penalty of their own, only for McKenzie to miss a straightforward effort to level the scores again.
Blues second row forward Filo Paulo was then sent to the bin for a challenge off the ball before Tomos Williams followed him for a high tackle on Ospreys flank Dan Lydiate.
The second yellow for Blues also resulted in a penalty try for Ospreys, having denied Lydiate from scoring in the corner, and suddenly the picture looked much rosier for the hosts.
An eventful first-half ended with Ospreys 10-6 ahead and they were handed a further boost soon after the restart when Wales winger Josh Adams became the third Blues player to see yellow.
But Ospreys struggled to make the most of their extra man after Williams’ return restored Blues to 14 men, with the hosts only having a further McKenzie penalty to show for their efforts.
And that was almost cancelled out straight away by replacement Tovey after Blues skipper Will Boyde forced a turnover – and it was not long before the visitors hit the front again.
Williams and Evans combined brilliantly for the latter to score the only Blues try of the game, with Tovey converting to put the away side 16-13 ahead with 20 minutes to play.
The reply came just three minutes later as McKenzie levelled the scores again from the tee, but Tovey restored Blues’ lead in the closing stages and the visitors held on for the win.
Man of the match
Shane Lewis-Hughes was the main man for Cardiff Blues in a Welsh derby that was full of effort and spirit but low on quality, with his robust defence key to the visitors’ triumph.
The 22-year-old racked up 15 tackles over 80 minutes – the equal most alongside teammate James Ratti – and came up with a crucial turnover as they made it three Guinness PRO14 wins on the spin.
Play of the day
While attacking flair was in short supply at the Liberty Stadium, Cardiff Blues produced the moment of the match when Evans crossed for the visitors’ opening try of the game.
The score came after clever interplay between Williams and Evans, with the former producing a deft chip through for the latter to gather and dot down just after the hour mark.
Try: Penalty try
Con: Penalty try does not require a conversion
Pens: McKenzie 3
For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Evans 2, Tovey 2
Yellow cards: Filo Paulo (Cardiff Blues, 30), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues, 32), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues, 42)
Ospreys: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Olly Cracknell, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Scott Otten, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Rhys Fawcett, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Morgan Morris, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Luke Price, 23 Kieran Williams.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ben Thomas, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 Will Boyde (captain), 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 James Ratti, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Brad Thyer.
Replacements: 16 Liam Belcher, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Hallam Amos.
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gareth Newman, Chris Morgan (both Wales)
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales)
Report by @PRO14Official