RaboDirect PRO12: Cardiff got the better of Dragons in their return fixture
Last Updated: 01/01/14 5:03pm
Cardiff Blues made sure it was honours even against local rivals Newport Gwent Dragons with a 21-13 RaboDirect PRO12 victory at Arms Park.
Newport scored the only try of the game through Will Harries but seven successful kicks - five by British and Irish Lions star Leigh Halfpenny - saw Cardiff to victory as they avenged their 22-16 defeat to the Dragons on Boxing Day.
The result earned Blues their fourth win of the campaign and leaves them on 22 points from 12 matches, two points behind Newport.
The uncertainty over their futures did not seem to affect the two sets of players, who had more pressing matters at hand with the Dragons having drawn first blood in these back-to-back festive derbies.
The four Welsh regions have not signed the Participation Agreement for next season and beyond with the WRU, holding out to play against the English clubs either as part of a cup competition or as a full breakaway league outside of WRU control.
Cardiff opened the scoring through fly-half Rhys Patchell, taking the kick while full-back Halfpenny was receiving treatment after the ruck where he won the penalty.
Halfpenny then missed a chance to extend the lead from inside his own half.
Former Blues player Jason Tovey missed a long-range chance to equalise, hitting the outside of the post and he also pulled a closer opportunity wide as Cardiff stayed in front.
Two Halfpenny penalties then extended the Blues' advantage, but then an unlucky bounce from a Patchell chip through gave Dragons full-back and man of the match Dan Evans the chance to break clear before putting wing Harries in for the try.
Tovey converted and then put the Dragons ahead from a ruck penalty, giving the visitors a 10-9 half-time lead.
There was worse news for the Blues, and potentially Wales, as Patchell limped from the field unable to put any weight on his left leg, replaced by Gareth Davies.
Tovey helped the Dragons go further clear at the start of the second half with another penalty, but Halfpenny brought the Blues back to within a point with a 45-yard effort of his own.
A sustained Blues attack brought a penalty in front of the posts and the sort of face-off between the packs you would expect in a heated derby.
Halfpenny kept his cool to slot the penalty to put his side ahead, but then missed another opportunity rushing after the ball fell off the kicking tee.
However, they got their reward from that period of pressure when Gareth Davies dropped a goal.
Halfpenny was fractionally wide with a 57-yard penalty, but then sealed things in the last minute kick from half that distance to deny the Dragons a losing bonus point.
Fri 24th Apr
Edinburgh37 - 0Zebre
Ulster26 - 10Leinster
Sat 25th Apr
Connacht13 - 31Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues23 - 31Ospreys
Munster30 - 19Treviso
Dragons10 - 29Scarlets
Fri 8th May
Dragons0 - 0Edinburgh
Leinster0 - 0Treviso
Ospreys0 - 0Glasgow Warriors
Sat 9th May
Ulster0 - 0Munster
Zebre0 - 0Connacht
Sun 10th May
Scarlets0 - 0Cardiff Blues
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues0 - 0Zebre
Connacht0 - 0Ospreys
Edinburgh0 - 0Leinster
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Munster0 - 0Dragons
Treviso0 - 0Scarlets
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 R12
Leinster left it late to clinch a 16-8 victory over a youthful Connacht side at the Sportsground.
Zebre claimed their first win over Italian rivals Treviso with a 14-12 victory at Stadio XXV Aprile.
The Ospreys completed a Rabodriect PRO12 double over rivals Scarlets to go into second place in the table.