Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh Rugby, Fri, 07/09/2012 - 19:05

Edinburgh Rugby captain Greig Laidlaw struck a last-minute drop-goal to secure a deserved and gutsy 21-19 away win over Cardiff Blues, spoiling the club's Arms Park homecoming.

As the first club to be welcomed back to the old ground, a packed Arms Park gave the clubs a vocal introduction to the historic home of the Welsh capital side.

From the outset, the men in black dominated large portions of the match, with the front-row reeking havoc on the host’s scrum to lay the platform for barnstorming runs from the back-row.

The club then continued their bright start through the boot of Laidlaw, who struck a penalty through the posts after just three minutes.

However, despite sustained pressure, Edinburgh could not capitalise on their lengthy spells of possession.

With pressure mounting Edinburgh were across the line however, with Cardiff bodies clutching to would-be-scorer, Nick De Luca, the TMO ruled that the grounding of the ball was inconclusive.

Cardiff then got a moment of relief through the first of three first-half Leigh Halfpenny penalties, which drew the sides level, before a superb break from lock Sean Cox created space for Tim Visser, who dispensed of the Welsh full-back to score at the corner.

The visitors frustrations were then compounded in the last ten minutes of the half as Halfpenny slotted second and third penalties to sneak the home side into an astonishing lead.

HALF TIME: 10-9

The second-half struck a similar chord, as Cardiff continued to creak and Edinburgh continued to run close, but not close enough.

With nine minutes of the first-half gone, the hosts heaped the pressure on the far-side flank and, five metres out, full-back Greig Tonks was yellow carded for a professional foul.

With a man advantage, Cardiff shaped to put it wide before slipping it to winger Alex Cuthbert, who battered through the middle to score. Halfpenny made no mistake with the extras and Edinburgh’s dominance was being undermined (16-8).

With 14-men Laidlaw kept the scores level with an exchange of penalties with Halfpenny, before Tonks returned to the field to lift the side once more.

Cardiff flanker Josh Navidi then took his turn in the bin for a professional foul, much the same as Tonks' on the opposite corner.

With a man up, there was only going to be one winner at the scrum. Edinburgh's pack burrowed hard into Cardiff, instantly yielding a penalty-try, which Laidlaw converted to go within a point (18-19).

What followed was an immensely tense 20 minutes.

Cardiff defended with everything, their scramble defense twice snagging two excellent opportunities for Edinburgh to cross the whitewash.

Then, with two minutes to spare, Laidlaw stepped into the pocket and slotted the match-winning drop-goal to complete the club’s first win in Wales in almost three years.

FULL TIME: 21-19

Cardiff Blues: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Gavin Evans, Dafydd Hewitt, Tom James; Ceri Sweeney, Lewis Jones; Taufa'ao Filise, Rhys Williams, Benoit Bourrust, Bradley Davies, James Down, Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton, Andries Pretorius (c)
Substitutes: Marc Breeze, Nathan Trevett, Thomas Davies, Lou Reed, Luke Hamilton, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Patchell, Thomas Williams

Edinburgh Rugby: Greig Tonks, Lee Jones, Nick De Luca, John Houston, Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw (capt), Richie Rees, Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox, David Denton, Roddy Grant, Stuart McInally.
Substitutes: Andy Titterrell for Ford, (70‘) John Yapp for Jacobsen (51’), Willem Nel for Cross (51’), Perry Parker, Netani Talei for McInally (74’), Chris Leck for Rees (70’), Gregor Hunter, Sep Visser

Man of the match: Alex Cuthbert
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU)

Team lineups

Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh Rugby

Backs

Backs

Forwards

Forwards

Substitutes

Substitutes