Blues up and running
Cardiff cruise past Sale in the Anglo-Welsh cup's first round
By Phil Jackson. Last Updated: 26/10/07 9:49pm
Thomas: Two tries
The Cardiff Blues got their EDF Energy Cup campaign up and running with an emphatic 32-15 victory over Sale Sharks on Friday night.
Wales captain Gareth Thomas scored two tries in a thrilling first half hour, where the home side ran in four unanswered tries.
Jason Spice (four minutes) and skipper Xavier Rush (29 minutes) ran in the other two tries, as the home side dominated at Arms Park.
Cardiff go top of Pool B in the Anglo-Welsh cup as a result, with Leicester Tigers and Bath still to come in round one, but if they can maintain the form they showed in this match they will have every chance of qualification.
Sale looked ordinary in comparison and struggled without their key World Cup contingent, allowing Deiniol Jones to break off the back of the scrum unchallenged in the build-up to the game's first try.
The second-rower broke down the left flank before feeding Spice and the scrum-half then held off Charlie Hodgson's tackle to touch down just inside the touchline.
It was scant reward for their early dominance though, as Lee Thomas kicked Sale back into the game with a 15th minute penalty.
Fly-half Nicky Robinson made up for his missed conversion to restore Cardiff's five-point advantage minutes later, but it took until the 20th minute for Sale's defence to be breached again.
A quality passing move from flank to flank was finished off by Thomas underneath the posts to give Cardiff a 15-3 lead, courtesy of Robinson's conversion.
And the centre then capitalised on sloppy handling by the visitors, showing good strength to stay in touch in the corner.
Rush finished off a superb period for the home side, with a simple touchdown, after Ben Blair had been brought down just short of the line, and Cardiff went into the break 27-3 up.
Maama Molitika's yellow card for coming in from the side slowed the progress in the second half, but Sale still struggled to make the breakthrough.
Julien Laharrague was lively though, and fed Thomas inside for Sale's opening try, just after the hour mark. The conversion reduced the deficit to 27-10.
Scotland's Rory Lamont then showed a glimpse of his talent, after more good work from Thomas to touch over for a second consolation try for the visitors.
But with just seconds left on the clock Ben White's interception secured Cardiff the handsome victory, as Nicky Robinson's cross-field kick was touched down by winger Tom James.
It capped a superb performance from the Blues, who will now be full of confidence for the trip to Leicester on 3rd November.