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Kiwis carving up North


Kiwis carving up North - Anscombe still good value for the Blues

Former (Auckland) Blues players often seem to wash up at the Cardiff Blues.

Such is the case with the current Welsh regional squad, where fullback Gareth Anscombe, No 8 Nick Williams and tighthead prop Taufa’ao Filise all featured in the 18-13 defeat of Toulouse in round five of the European Challenge Cup over the weekend.

Anscombe, now 26, underlined his value to Cardiff with a decisive try and a penalty goal to edge the Blues ahead of their French rivals. All things being equal, Anscombe should still be in New Zealand plying his trade for Super Rugby’s Blues, who spurned him in 2013.

However, he would likely not have racked up 11 international caps, as he has done for Wales, had he remained in his native land.

Anscombe now has 396 points from 53 Cardiff games to his credit, though he has not always kicked the goals. The leading all-time Cardiff Blues point scorer is another Kiwi, Ben Blair, who compiled 1078 points in his tenure.

While Cardiff has won Pool 2 with a game to spare and qualified for the quarter-finals of a competition they last won in 2009-10, Toulouse, three-time champions of Europe, have fallen to the foot of the second tier pool. They fielded centre Jarrod Poi, No 8 Joe Tekori, and replacement wing Paul Perez.

Sale Sharks hold second spot in Pool 2 with a tight, 15-13 victory over Lyon, despite a yellow card to Denny Solomona. Halani Aulika wore the No 3 jersey. The former North Harbour reps Rudi Wulf and Mike Harris teamed up in the Lyonnais midfield, while Toa Halafihi was at No 8.

Former Auckland lock Will Lloyd enjoyed a 47-17 win for his London Irish club over Krasny Yar. Connacht, with Bundee Aki and Naulia Dawai in the ranks, forced a 24-all draw at Worcester. Roimata Hansell-Pune’s Oyonnax was on the receiving end of a 29-19 reverse to Dominiko Waqaniburotu’s Brive.

Frank Halai and Peter Saili scored tries in Pau’s 42-14 hiding of Zebre. Daniel Ramsay and Jamie Mackintosh also started in the pack. Edinburgh edged Tony Ensor’s Stade Francais 34-33.

A try to former NZ Under 20s and Otago wing Fa’asiu Fuatai guided Bordeaux-Begles to a 36-28 win over the Dragons. Ole Avei and Ben Volavola also started for the French club.

Jason Woodward was one of five Kiwis featuring in Gloucester’s comfortable 45-24 victory at Agen. He scored a try and his teammates included Motu Matu’u, Jeremy Thrush, Josh Hohneck and Tom Marshall.

In the Champions Cup, Alex Tulou’s Castres blanked Leicester, for whom Valentino Mapapalangi, Mike FitzGerald and Brendon O’Connor suited up, 39-0.

Hadleigh Parkes scored a try in Scarlets’ fine 35-17 win at Bath. Paul Grant and Kahn Fotuali’i were subs for Todd Blackadder’s beaten side.

There was a 15-all stalemate between Ma’afu Fia’s Ospreys and Sean Maitland’s Saracens.

Alofa Alofa and Mat Luamanu played in Harlequins’ 33-28 win over Wasps. Monty Ioane and Hame Faiva suffered a 36-0 defeat for Treviso at the hands of Toulon.

Ben Tameifuna was, unusually, the sole Kiwi in Racing-Metro’s 34-30 victory over Rhys Marshall’s Munster.

A try to Nemani Nadolo and two goals from Aaron Cruden were nowhere near enough for Montpellier, who crashed 41-10 at Exeter.

Ulster’s New Zealand triumvirate of Charlie Piutau, Sean Reidy and Rodney Ah You helped their province to a 20-13 win over La Rochelle, who fielded Uini Atonio, Jason Eaton, Victor Vito and Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

An Isa Nacewa double and a single to James Lowe gave Leinster the impetus to put 55-19 on Siua Halanukonuka’s Glasgow.

Ken Pisi, Teimana Harrison and Nafi Tuitavake were among the tries for Northampton Saints in their 34-21 result over Clermont. Ahsee Tuala, Dylan Hartley and Michael Paterson also featured for Saints. Isaia Toeava, this time from fullback, scored a try for the French club, while Fritz Lee (8) and Luke McAlister (10) were in the mix too.

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Kiwis carving up North - Anscombe still good value for the Blues
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