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Blues miss festive derbies hat-trick

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Scarlets squeeze past Cardiff Blues

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Cardiff Blues missed the chance to record a hat-trick of festive Welsh derby victories as Scarlets sneaked a 16-14 win before a sell-out crowd at the Arms Park.

After wins over Ospreys and Dragons, Blues were narrow favourites for victory but poor goal-kicking cost them the match. Leigh Halfpenny made them pay with three penalties and the conversion of a try from Gareth Davies. Blues’ tries came from Owen Lane and Josh Adams, with Jarrod Evans and Jason Tovey each adding a conversion.

Blues had the first chance for points but Evans was off target with a penalty before Halfpenny fired one over from a similar position to give the visitors an eighth-minute lead. Three minutes later, Halfpenny kicked another after Blues conceded their fourth penalty in the first 11 minutes.

After a superb flowing move which covered 50 metres, Blues won a penalty in the visitors’ 22 but this time the hosts elected for an attacking line-out which proved the wrong option as Scarlets won possession against the throw. However, Blues maintained the pressure and, after 24 minutes, they scored the opening try when brilliant work from Hallam Amos saw him draw in to two defenders to send Lane racing away down the right flank.

When the wing was challenged he kicked ahead and easily won the race to touchdown. Evans converted and Blues were in front for the first time. A mistake from Evans soon gave Scarlets back the lead. His telegraphed pass was intercepted by Davies, who raced in from halfway. Halfpenny converted and added a 45-metre penalty to give his side a 16-7 half-time lead.

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Evans was replaced by Tovey at the break, but the former Dragon was unsuccessful with his first kick at goal. The home side continued to dominate in terms of possession and territory but some poor decision-making and a resolute red defence prevented them from capitalising.

The game became increasingly scrappy and it came as no surprise that the third quarter was scoreless as neither side could threaten the try line.

It therefore came as a shock when Blues produced a try of stunning quality. From deep inside their own half, they moved the ball wide where Rey Lee-Lo and Adams combined brilliantly for Adams to evade two coverers on a 30-metre run to the line.

Tovey converted but missed with a 45-metre angled penalty 10 minutes from time, which allowed Scarlets to hang on to four valuable league points.

– Press Association 

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Scarlets squeeze past Cardiff Blues