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Cuthbert hat-trick tops perfect send off for Blues’ dozen

Guinness PRO12 Editor 22 Apr 2012

Alex Cuthbert showed his worth to the Blues cause with a superb hat-trick to help down Edinburgh 38-13 in what might yet prove to be his final game at the Cardiff City Stadium.

 

With the Blues working under a reduced budget next season 12 players have announced their departure from the RaboDirect PRO12 side but with Cuthbert’s future still up in the air he and his teammates signed off their final home game of the campaign in style with a resounding win over their under-strength opponents.

Edinburgh, now with just one win in 11 RaboDirect PRO12 matches, were blown away by Welsh international Cuthbert and he was joined on the scoresheet by Lloyd Williams, Luke Hamilton and Josh Navidi.

The Gunners had one eye on their historic Heineken Cup semi-final against Ulster next Saturday and Michael Bradley took the opportunity to rest a number of his players.

And the hosts took full advantage although fly-half Phil Godman got things going with a neatly taken penalty for the visitors.

On 17 minutes the Blues opened their account when scrum-half Williams forced his way over after a period of pressure from the hosts. Ben Blair added the extras.

With conditions worsening after a sudden downpour handling errors were proving the Blues’ downfall as Cuthbert lost possession in the tackle after a turnover ball when charging for the line.

Blair then missed a long-range penalty on the half-hour as Justin Burnell’s troops continued to press the Edinburgh line.

They got their reward a minute before the interval as Cuthbert found a gap in the right corner for his seventh try of the season after quick hands from Casey Laulala and Blair. Blair failed to convert the extras but his side went in at the interval 12-3 in front.

Godman started the second half the way he did the first by adding three points for the visitors – this time with a drop goal but he soon saw teammate John Houston sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle.

The hosts took advantage when Blair found Cuthbert who rode his way through two challenges to cross in the corner for his second of the day on 50 minutes, Blair hitting the upright with his conversion.

Flanker Luke Hamilton, who will remain with the Blues next season, powered his way over for their fourth try on 55 minutes, leaving Blair the simplest of tasks to convert under the posts.

Cuthbert then completed his hat-trick after a superb dummy and run just before the hour that Edinburgh seemed powerless to stop.

The Gunners weren’t about to lie down though, as young fly-half Harry Leonard showed a deft touch and latched on to his own kick to cross under the posts but the Blues were already celebrating their first win in four RaboDirect PRO12 games when substitute Navidi went over in the dying minutes.

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