29 May 2005 19:42:31
Martyn Winters
Spoiler: Arix Viadana - Cardiff Blues

Arix Viadana 9-38 Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues tunneled their way into the Heineken cup with a convincing
win over the third placed Italian club side. I say convincing, but the
first half was anything but that. Leading 9-6 at half time, the Blues
were looking very much the better side, but the game had that surreal
air of an impending upset.

The conditions were very much in the favour of the home side, and the
hot, muggy weather was just the kind of stamina sapping leveler that
could have produced a surprise.

Given the number of fumbles and knock-ons, you could have been forgiven
for believing the match was being played in the farthest corner of the
Glamorgans late in the worst December on record from a meteorlogical
perspective.

There was evidence of rustiness from the Welsh region, having kicked
their heels for weeks prior to this match, but an early score by Robin
Sowden-Taylor from a Sidoli lineout knockdown appeared to settle the
Blues and it was one way traffic from there on in.

After an exchange of kicks, including an easy miss from the normally
reliable McLeod, the Blues contrived to put together the move of the
match, perhaps of their whole season when Williams, Robinson and Davies
fashioned an opening for Dewdney to cruise over near the flag. McLeod
popped over the conversion and suddenly it was 24-9 and Arix V were
looking distinctly Parker Pen-ish.

Tries by Robinson from a Dewdney interception and Craig Morgan in injury
time rounded off a good day's work for the Welshmen, who can now look
forward to thrashing the likes of Toulouse, Leicester, Munster down at
the Arms Park next season. I can feel a season ticket renewal coming on.
I am such a sucker.....

Arix Viadana: Casper Steyn, Kaine Robertson, Andrea Masi, Diego Sacca,
Tom Beim; Daryl Lilley, Matteo Mazzantini, Mario Savi (captain), Stefano
Saviozzi, Carlos Nieto, Cristian Bezzi, Van Humphries, Daniel Stead,
Andrea Benatti, Josh Sole.
Replacements: Ermes De Bellis, Matias Aguero, Emanuele Brancalion,
Gregor Hayter, Facundo Lopez, Pietro Travagli, Claudio Spadaro.

Cardiff Blues: N Macleod; D Dewdney, R Williams (captain), T Davies, C
Morgan, N Robinson, R Powell, J Yapp, G Williams, B Evans, D Jones, R
Sidoli, M Molitika, R Sowden-Taylor, M Lewis.
Replacements: N Llewellyn, R Thomas, C Quinnell, N Budgett, L Thomas, S
James, N Walne.

Referee: D Pearson.

Viadana: (6) 9
Pens: Lilley 3.

Blues: (9) 36
Tries: Sowden-Taylor, Dewdney, Robinson, Craig Morgan.
Cons: MacLeod 3.
Pens: MacLeod 4.

Martyn