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Cardiff snatch victory from Cheetahs, Edinburgh hold on at home

By Alex Fisher
Cardiff Blues kicker Gareth Anscombe

Cardiff Blues produced a scintillating final 15 minutes to come from 11 points behind and secure a stunning Pro 14 victory over the Cheetahs.

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Converted second-half tries from Sibahle Maxwane and Benhard Janse van Rensburg put the Cheetahs on course for their first win of the season, but they were unable to hold out against Cardiff’s late surge.

Just as they had done in the first half, Cardiff refused to lie down and – after a lengthy spell of pressure – found an opening for Lloyd Williams to cross.

Gareth Anscombe converted to put Cardiff within a score of victory, and four minutes later it duly arrived as Olly Robinson touched down.

Another conversion from Anscombe took his points tally to nine, helping the Blues record a 24-21 triumph in Group A.

There was another tense encounter at Murrayfield as Edinburgh clung on to earn a hard-fought 31-30 win over Benetton Treviso.

Hosts Edinburgh had dominated the opening 40 minutes and led 24-15 after tries from Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe and Blair Kinghorn – with Simon Hickey adding nine points from the tee.

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Treviso refused to give in, though, and the Italians would have secured victory had Tommaso Allan and Ian McKinley added the extras to any of their four second-half tries.

Marco Fuser, Luca Sperandio and Marco Barbini all crossed after half-time, yet Treviso still finished agonisingly short of a third win of the campaign.

In other news:

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finn 6 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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