Cardiff Blues recorded a stunning victory over Pau on Saturday night as an eight-try rout secured a 54-22 win in the European Challenge Cup at the Arms Park.
It was a performance that surpassed all expectations, especially on the back of the last game in this competition which saw us fall so disappointingly to Leicester Tigers, and pushes us right into the mix for quarter-final qualification.
Josh Adams crossed the try line three times on his long awaited Cardiff Blues debut having signed from Worcester Warriors over the summer before heading to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, where he finished as top try scorer.
He is the first player in the regional era to score a hat-trick on debut in a competitive game, with Tom Williams having done so in a pre-season friendly against Worcester in 2012, while Iestyn Harris completed the feat on his first start against Glasgow in 2001 for Cardiff RFC.
With those three tries Adams goes straight in as second highest try scorer this season, level with Matthew Morgan and one behind Aled Summerhill.
The offload kings
Across the 80 minutes against Pau on Saturday, Cardiff Blues’ attacking stats were quite amazing, with 578 metres from 136 carries at 4.25m per carry, 32 defenders beaten and 24 line breaks made, and of course eight tries scored.
The most noticeable stat was 18 offloads though, the most in a single game by us by some distance this season, topping the 11 made against Cheetahs. Before Saturday the average offloads per game by John Mulvihill’s men was just under five.
During one phase in the first half Cardiff Blues actually offloaded the ball five times, with that phase alone seeing more offloads than the entire 80 minutes against Benetton, Leicester, Calvisano, Munster and Ulster.
Leading from the front
Will Boyde captained the Cardiff Blues for the first time on just his ninth appearance after a summer move from Scarlets, and earned plenty of plaudits in the process.
12 tackles, a turnover, 16 carries for 49 metres, four offloads and a try assist contributed to an all-action performance, which has resulted in the Oxford English Dictionary redefining the phrase ‘leading from the front’ as just a picture of Will Boyde.
He becomes the fourth player to captain Cardiff Blues in just 10 games this season, which many may think is a weakness, but at the Arms Park seems to point towards the strength of a leadership group rather than any reliance on one individual.