The Welsh region were riding a wave of optimism on the back of their emphatic victory over Leeds Tykes last week. But the loss of inspirational flanker Martyn Williams before the game and their inability to win away from the Arms Park handed the former European finalist a handsome victory.
Williams returned home due to a serious family illness but it is doubtful that even the inspirational British Lion could have done little to halt a Perpignan side in full glory. Yet it still took a moment of good fortune for Perpignan to finally break Cardiff resistence after 20 minutes. Nicolas Laharrague lifted a speculative cross-field kick that wrong footed Jamie Robinson who could only watch as the ball bounced over his head and into the hands of Christophe Manas to sailed over from 30 yards.
Perpignan sniffed blood as their pack began to turn the screw on the Blues' light-weight eight. Twice skipper Bernard Goutta turned down shots at goal, opting instead for a lineout. The Blues held out both times but livewire scrum-half Nicolas Durand spotted the tiniest of gaps and darted through.
Their 18-0 half-time lead was extended less than a minute after the break after the Laharrague brothers, full-back Julien and then Nicolas, combined to send Gavin Hume under the posts. Samuel Dawai Naulu and Ovidiu Tonita crossed to secure a bonus point before Robinson and Rhys Thomas gave the Blues some respectability on the scoreboard late on though they wasted chances for a bonus point.
Perpignan: Tries - C Manas, N Durand, G Hume, S Dawai Naulu, O Tonita. Cons - N Laharrague (3). Pens - N Laharrague (2).
Blues: Tries - J Robinson, R Thomas. Cons - N Robinson (2). Pens -
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)