Blues thrash Scarlets
PRO14 REPORT: Rey Lee-Lo scored two tries as Cardiff Blues ended Scarlets’ 27-month unbeaten home record in the Pro14 with a memorable 34-5 derby-day victory.
Lloyd Williams dotted down in the tenth minute after an early Gareth Anscombe penalty, but the home side quickly hit back through a Johnny McNicholl try.
But Lee-Lo’s score just after the hour-mark, after some smart play by Willis Halaholo, changed the game and he added a second near full-time following an interception.
Gareth Anscombe added a bonus-point score at the death, helping the Blues move level on points with Ospreys in Conference A, while defeat for the Scarlets sees them drop to fourth in Conference B.
The day got off to a bad start for the hosts, who were hit with a major blow before kick-off when Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny was ruled out minutes before he was due to make his return from a seven-week absence.
With Rhys Patchell again out injured, Hadleigh Parkes got the nod at flyhalf but it was his opposite number who made the early running.
Anscombe has been in fine form all season for the Blues and he got his side off to a strong start with a monstrous penalty inside three minutes.
The Blues continued to cause Scarlets all kinds of problems in the early stages and crossed for the game’s first try in the tenth minute.
Josh Turnbull won a turnover in Scarlets territory, before centre Lee-Lo surged past Jonathan Davies and linked with Blaine Scully.
The wing surged for the line but was caught by a recovering Davies before handing off for Williams to score.
Scarlets hit back straight away, as Will Boyde’s clever kick through was touched down by McNicholl.
That was remarkably the final score of the first half, despite both sides playing with a high intensity in an entertaining 40 minutes.
Scarlets started on the front foot at the beginning of the second half and almost pulled level seven minutes after the restart when Parkes send a looping pass out to Tom Prydie – but the wing bundled into touch by some last-gasp defending.
However, they came back and the killer try just after the hour mark when Willis Halaholo surged through midfield, handing off one tackle before slipping the ball inside to Lee-Lo, who outsprinted Jonathan Davies to touch down.
The centre added his second five minutes from time when he intercepted a pass and sprinted alone to score under the posts, before Anscombe finished it with a second interception.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: L Williams, Lee-Lo 2, Anscombe
Cons: Anscombe 4
Pens: Anscombe 2
Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Hadleigh Parkes, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Will Boyde, 7 James Davies, 6 Ed Kennedy, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Josh Helps, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Tom Price, 20 Dan Davis, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Paul Asquith.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Garyn Smith, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Seb Davies, 4 George Earle, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Kristian Dacey (captain), 1 Brad Thyer.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dmitri Arhip, 19 James Down, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Matthew Morgan.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)