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Blues climb to third with win over Dragons

jmcconnell 16 Apr 2006

Cardiff Blues leap-frogged Munster into third pace in the Celtic League table with a narrow 18-13 win over Newport-Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.

The disciplined visitor’s fifth victory in a row saw them equal the Region’s best ever run in Celtic League history (originally set in February-March 2004) and keep the pressure on league leaders Leinster and fellow high-flyers Ulster.

The defeat for The Dragons, who had previously won their last five matches in all competitions at Rodney Parade, dents their push for an automatic qualification spot for next season’s Heineken Cup.

In driving rain The Blues got off to a superb start by grabbing a sensational opening try that saw them sweep downfield.

Flanker Martyn Williams looked for the attacking option when The Blues scrum was under pressure in their own 22, winger Chris Czekaj then sped down the touchline before feeding scrum-half Mike Phillips who dotted down to claim the score before Nicky Robinson added the conversion.

Fly-half Robinson cemented their lead with a long range penalty soon after but they offered a lifeline to The Dragons on the quarter hour when a loose lineout throw from Rhys Thomas found Michael Owen who drove over for a try, that was converted by Craig Warlow.

A drop goal from Robinson edged The Blues further ahead but a Warlow penalty five minutes later cancelled out that effort.

The Dragons’ task was made more difficult when they were reduced to 14 men before the break with Owen being sent to the sin-bin, but to their credit they held the scores for the duration of his absence.

Soon after the re-start it was The Blues’ turn to have a player sent to the sin-bin with Robert Sidoli penalised for taking out Luke Charteris.

However they took the blow in their stride and created the next try with some patient build-up work creating the overlap for Craig Morgan who offloaded to Czekaj over for the score.

A further Warlow penalty narrowed the deficit and offered some hope to The Dragons but they were unable to overhaul their Welsh rivals.