Cardiff Blues got off to a winning start in the Guinness PRO14 with a 16-6 victory over Zebre despite playing most of the second half with 14 men.

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With the Welsh side leading through Josh Adams’ first-half try, team-mate Josh Turnbull was sent off in the 43rd minute by Irish referee George Clancy.

The No8 was dismissed for a shoulder to the head of Zebre flanker Maxime Mbanda, with the lead cut to 10-6 once the resulting penalty was put through the posts.

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However, Cardiff managed to grow into the PRO14 game and took control with kicks from Jarrod Evans and Jason Tovey, with the former finishing with eight points as well as creating Adams’ try with a well-judged kick through just before the half-hour.

Evans’ penalty and Adams’ try had John Mulvihill’s side 10-3 up at the interval and although Turnbull’s dismissal was a setback, they responded positively.

Carlo Canna kicked the home side’s six points in front of around 1,000 fans at the Stadio Lanfranchi in Parma.

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The match was the first outing in nearly eleven months for Cardiff’s Wales-qualified centre Willis Halaholo after he suffered a knee injury in November 2019.

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