Home European Challenge Cup Cardiff beat Edinburgh to advance to semi’s

Cardiff beat Edinburgh to advance to semi’s

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Cardiff Blues advanced to the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup after an excellent 20-6 triumph over Edinburgh at Murrayfield.

Although the Scots opened the scoring via Jaco van der Walt, Cardiff were comfortably the better team from thereon in and deservedly went into the break 14-3 in front

Ellis Jenkins and Blaine Scully both touched down for an 11-point buffer before a second van der Walt three-pointer gave the hosts hope at the start of the second half.

There was no lack of endeavour from Edinburgh but they were outplayed throughout and successive Jarrod Evans’ efforts off the tee confirmed Cardiff’s win and their place in the last four, where they will take on Pau at home.

Both these sides have been playing with confidence over the last few weeks, but the Blues were far more self-assured and capitalised on a number of errors by the hosts.

Richard Cockerill’s men started brightly enough, going 3-0 ahead via the boot of van der Walt, but the away team managed to expose the Scottish outfit’s defence through their accurate kicking game.

Twice it paid dividends in the second quarter with their opening score coming when Evans’ cross-field kick comically bounced off the head of Nathan Fowles and landed in the arms of Jenkins, who touched down.

Cardiff then extended their advantage as Gareth Anscombe fed the ball through. Blair Kinghorn failed to collect and Rey Lee-Lo was on hand to send Scully across the whitewash for a 14-3 lead at the interval.

Cockerill needed a response from his charges but they were struggling to garner front foot ball. Throughout the contest, they sought to go from deep but, with Danny Wilson’s team controlling the breakdown exchanges, it was yielding little reward.

Although ill-discipline allowed the Scots to reduce the arrears, further impressive Blues play at the contact area gave Evans an opportunity to cancel out the preceding three points. The pivot duly made no mistake and it gave them a comfortable buffer heading into the final 20 minutes.

The visitors continued to play with authority and, after they had marched an Edinburgh scrum into reverse, Evans took them to within touching distance of the next round.

Cardiff were controlling matters but, in Kinghorn, Edinburgh had one of the game’s most potent attackers and his break saw Jenkins cynically infringe and receive a yellow card.

Cockerill’s men failed to take advantage, however, and the visitors held on to round off an excellent display.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Pens: Van der Walt 2

For Cardiff:
Tries: Jenkins, Scully
Cons: Evans 2
Pens: Evans 2
Yellow Card: Jenkins

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