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Gareth Davies’ flawless kicking display ensured Cardiff Blues emerged with something to show for their efforts in a bruising clash with Benetton Treviso as the fly-half’s late penalty sealed a 26-26 draw.
Tries from Chris Czekaj and Robin Copeland had the Blues in a commanding position at the break, 20-9 to the good, but a spirited fight-back from Treviso saw them edge into a 26-23 lead with 12 minutes to go.
But Davies, who scored 16 points with four penalties and two conversions, drew his side level with four minutes to go as neither side were able to seal the victory.
Treviso were first on the scoreboard in what was a lively opening through Mat Berquist, who himself had an excellent day from the kicking tee, on three minutes but Cardiff responded and took the lead with a try from Czekaj – Davies with the conversion.
It then turned into somewhat of a kicking contest between the two fly-halves with Davies and Berquist both adding two penalties each as the score moved on to 13-9 to the visitors.
But the Blues proved to be more clinical with ball in hand and were able to score a second try, this time through No.8 Copeland on the half-hour, which gave them a 20-9 lead at the break.
Despite the deficit it was the home side that came out with more urgency in the second-half and although Berquist missed with a penalty on 47 minutes it wasn’t long before Treviso were back in the game.
In fact just two minutes later flanker Alessandro Zanni grabbed a try, allowing Berquist to add the extras, which brought the Italians to within four points of their Welsh opponents.
And Treviso completed the turnaround just before the hour when Edoardo Gori, a second-half substitute on for Tobias Botes, touched down with Berquist successful with his conversion to make it 23-20.
Just three minutes later though and Treviso were down to 14 men as Michele Rizzo was sent to the sin bin and from the resulting penalty Davies maintained his perfect form from the kicking tee to even things up.
With 12 minutes remaining Berquist again edged Treviso into the lead with another penalty and the Italian outfit were looking in a strong position when Cardiff’s Samoan lock Filo Paulo was sent to the sin bin for the remainder of the encounter.
But Davies kept his nerve with four minutes remaining to score yet another penalty, his fourth of the match, to secure a draw at the Stadio Monigo.