Jonah Lomu scored his first competitive try in three years as the Blues bagged an 18-point victory in the Welsh derby in Cardiff on Tuesday night. Lomu scored early in the second half as he continues his comeback from a kidney transplant, and Wales fly-half Nicky Robinson added 16 points in the Celtic League clash.
Lomu is also working his magic off the field. Ten days after attracting 11,700 fans to the Arms Park to watch the Calvisano match, the All Black legend's presence last night ensured the sold-out signs went up at the Arms Park for the first time in half a decade. The 12,464-strong crowd who streamed through the gates last night is a Celtic League record.
And the majority of them were left stunned when Dragons winger Nathan Brew scored one of the fastest tries in Celtic League history. Blues centre Tristan Davies spilled the kick-off, Dragons scrum-half Gareth Cooper spotted a gap and Brew silenced the fans with a simple run into the corner after only 29 seconds of the match.
Wales team-mates Robinson (two) and Ceri Sweeney traded penalty goals before Robinson toed the ball ahead before dotting down to give the Blues the lead for the first time in the match.
Robinson must have impressed Mike Ruddock, who was at the game, but the Wales coach must have groaned when Dragons fullback Kevin Morgan was helped from the field with a serious-looking ankle injury.
Blues winger Craig Morgan was next across the line, but only after receiving a blatant forward pass. Davies was yellow-carded on the half-hour mark for a professional foul, but Dragons prop David Maddocks ensured a 14-a-side match by earning a card of his own.
The Blues capitalised first with a try to scrum-half Ryan Powell after some good work from Lomu, and the home side took a healthy 26-11 lead into the break. The moment Blues fans have been waiting for came in the opening minute of the second half. A powerful run from backrower Andy Powell drove the Blues into the opposition quarter, the ball was quickly spun left and Lomu dived over in the corner for a try bonus point.
Blues hooker Rhys Thomas was over in the same spot moments later, but Dragons namesake Rhys Thomas and centre Jonny Bryant scored within the space of two minutes as the Blues eased down.
Lomu looked set for a double before his lack of match fitness gave out and he was forced to flick the ball inside to fullback Rhys Williams for the final score of the match.
Blues: R Williams (capt); C Morgan, J Robinson, T Davies, J Lomu; N Robinson (R Warren 71), R Powell (M Phillips 58); G Jenkins, R Thomas (D Goodfield 71), M Jones, C Quinnell, R Sidoli, A Powell (M Williams 68), R Sowden-Taylor, X Rush Scorers: Tries - N Robinson, C Morgan, R Powell, J Lomu, R Thomas, R Williams; Pens - N Robinson 3; Con - N Robinson.
Newport Gwent Dragons: K Morgan (C Warlow 24); G Chapman, H Luscombe, J Bryant, N Brew (R Fussell 40); C Sweeney, G Cooper; D Maddocks, A Brown, G Robinson, L Charteris, P Sidoli, A Hall, C Davies, M Owen (capt) Scorers: Tries - N Brew, R Thomas, J Bryant; Pens - C Sweeney 2; Con - C Sweeney.
Halftime: Cardiff Blues 26-11 Yellow cards: T Davies (Cardiff Blues), D Maddocks (Newport Gwent Dragons), C Sweeney (Newport Gwent Dragons) Referee: Phil Fear (Wales)