Cardiff Blues A 40-31 Dragons A

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Cardiff Blues A notched up a first Celtic Cup win of the season as they overcame Dragons A to bring the curtain down on Judgement Day at the Arms Park.

Both sides were using the game as a de-facto pre-season friendly, with the Guinness Pro14 campaign just three weeks away from starting, naming a mix of first team and academy players in a bid to blend the development nature of the competition with getting senior players game time.

Having lost to both Leinster A and Ulster A so far this season, the home side were bottom of the table going into the weekend, and found themselves behind early on when Dragons prop Ryan Bevington crashed over from close range and Ben Botica added the conversion.

However, there was an almost instant response from Cardiff Blues when James Botham offloaded brilliantly for Dan Fish to sprint clear. Kicking duties for the day fell to Lewis Jones who duly converted.

Unfortunately that would be Fish’s last contribution of the day as he collided with the post during a defensive set and was removed from play as a precaution, Jason Tovey entering the fray at the beginning of his second stint at the Arms Park.

He was on the tee soon after as Harri Millard manages to wriggle clear of contact and score in the corner, Tovey making it 14-7, but the end-to-end nature of the first half continued when Botica’s chip kick was collected by Dafydd Howells to score an unconverted try.

Howells was back over in the corner minutes later when he ran an interception in from 80 metres, but Cardiff Blues re-took the lead when Ben Murphy pushed his way over from close range following a Jason Harries break. Tovey converted to make the score 21-17 at half-time.

The break-neck nature of the game continued after the break when Botham was again in an offloading frame of mind, this time to feed Lewis Jones, but it was a former Cardiff Blues scrum-half in Tavis Knoyle who grabbed the next try when he sniped from close range.

However, the game was put beyond doubt as proceedings entered the final quarter as Jones scored a second to cap off a fine solo second half performance, before Rory Thornton forced his way over from close to score his first try at the Arms Park.

Rhodri Williams scored a late consolation try for Dragons, but the final scoreline showed 40-31 as Cardiff Blues grabbed five points and jumped up to sixth in the table.

The next game sees Gethin Jenkins and T Rhys Thomas’ men travel to new bottom side Ospreys Development on Friday night, with a 7.15pm kick-off at the Brewery Field in Bridgend.

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