Gloucester get a big case of the Blues in Anglo Welsh Cup

Cardiff Blues utterly overwhelmed Gloucester by running in seven tries to clinch the EDF Energy Cup at Twickenham with a scoreline of 12-50.


Leigh Halfpenny and Ben Blair  both touched down twice with Tom Shanklin, Ceri Sweeney and Tom James also scoring tries as the Blues dominated from the first minute and never let their English opponents into the game.


Blair also added six conversions and a penalty as the Blues posted the biggest final total in the history of the competition with Gloucester’s consolation efforts coming from Mark Foster in the first half and a penalty try in the closing moments of the second.


With Lions supremo Ian McGeechan in the crowd, there were plenty of Cardiff players underlined outstanding claims for a place in the touring party named next week – and they still have the closing stages of the Heineken Cup to come for at the climax of an outstanding season.


“It’s great to see so many smiling faces,” said victorious Cardiff coach Dai Young.


“We knew we couldn’t sit back and let Gloucester play because they are too good a side. It was our intention to play from the word go.


“There are a number of names that come to mind – Tom Shanklin, Gethin Jenkins, Martyn Williams, Leigh Halfpenny – and it would be a brave man not to take them to South Africa.”


Struggling Gloucester have now lost on their last four visits to Twickenham since beating Northampton to win the English senior cup here in 2003 and they were short of firepower without injured skipper Mike Tindall.


His absence left Cardiff taking advantage of a midfield mismatch against the Kingsholm trio of Ryan Lamb, Anthony Allen and James Simpson-Daniel, while man of the match Martyn Williams led the way up front as the Blues utterly dominated the collisions and the breakdown.


They forced Gloucester to make more than 50 tackles in the first 20 minutes, by which point they were 17-0 up and pretty much out of sight.


Blair and Ryan Lamb both missed shots at goal before Nicky Robinson’s break inspired some sublime touches from Williams and Richie Rees to put Halfpenny over.


Blair converted, then added an 18th minute penalty before Williams was involved again with the floated pass that set up Halfpenny’s second score.


Glocuester finally strung some phases together on the half-hour, Alex Brown driving the ball up and Simpson-Daniel involved before Gareth Delve gave Foster the chance to stretch for the line.


Normal service was resumed shortly before the interval when James got over in the corner and Gloucester looked out on their feet.


It took another 26 minutes for Cardiff to strike again, but they then scored twice in 60 seconds as Blair finished off a blistering break from loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins before Sweeney got on the scoresheet with his first touch of the ball after Gloucester coughed up possession for the umpteenth time.


James Simpson-Daniel’s best contribution of the game was a jinking break that put replacement scrum half Gareth Cooper within inches of the line and after three close-range scrums collapsed Gloucester were awarded a penalty try by referee Alain Rolland.


Fittingly, though, the final words went to the Blues – serenaded with the strains of Land of My Fathers ringing round the ground – as Sweeney pounced for his second score and Blair added a majestic conversion from wide on the left.


They reached the half-century of points in the final seconds with Shanklin adding their seventh try and Blair his sixth successful conversion.



Final Score Gloucester 5 (5) Cardiff Blues 50 (22)


Scorers


Gloucester
Tries -Foster,Penalty
Penalties –
Conversions -Barkley
Drop Goals –


Cardiff Blues
Tries -Halfpenny 2, James, Blair 2, Sweeney, Shanklin
Penalties -Blair
Conversions -Blair 6

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