Wales skipper Sam Warburton played his first game since March
Wales and British & Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton finally got back onto the rugby pitch after injury and contractual difficulties when he played 50 minutes for Cardiff Blues in their 21-17 friendly defeat at Leicester Tigers.
Warburton was joined by new signing Adam Jones in a Blues side that battled back from an early 12-0 deficit to lead 17-12 in the second half against the English giants. But three late penalties from England outside half Freddy Burns wrapped up the game for the home side.
Warburton hadn't played since undergoing surgery after dislocating his shoulder in Wales' 51-3 RBS 6 Nations win over Scotland in March. The on-going impasse between the WRU and the Regions over the signing of the new Rugby Services Agreement meant he wasn't able to play in any of the Blues' earlier friendlies, but Thursday's successful conclusion meant he was able to play at Welford Road.
Tries from new Italian back row recruit Robert Barbieri and England and Lions scrum half Ben Youngs, one of which Burns converted, gave the Tigers their early 12-0 lead. But the Blues hit back with a sniping try from Wales scrum half Lloyd Williams and two Rhys Patchell penalties to make it 12-11 at the break.
Patchell then dropped a goal and kicked a penalty at the start of the second half to hoist the visitors into a 17-12 lead before Burns put the boot in with his hat-trick of late penalties to bag victory in a highly competitive game.
Scorers: Leicester Tigers: Tries: R Barbieri, B Youngs; Con: F Burns; Pens: F Burns 3. Cardiff Blues: Try: L Williams; DG: R Patchell; Pens: R Patchell 3
Whenever Bedlinog tackle Penallta a massive fixure is guaranteed but this Sunday there will be even more emphasis placed on the two rivals when they contest the SSE Swalec Plate final at Principality Stadium.
Ahead of their SSE SWALEC Bowl Final clash with Taffs Well at Principality Stadium on Sunday, Burry Port share their #FABXV nomination with WRUTV in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers. Everyone can get involved by sending nominations via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins and Ospreys centre Ben John look ahead to the first game at Principality Stadium in Saturday's double header which is promising to be a special occasion for all Welsh fans.
Carmarthen Quins Director of Rugby Ian Jones and committee member Jeff Thomas along with Llandovery chairman Handel Davies look ahead to Sunday's SSE SWALEC Cup showdown where both teams are out to prove 'West is best'
SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
Carmarthen Quins coach Richard Kelly believes it is an exciting time to be part of the Scarlets region as his side take on local rivals Llandovery in the SSE Swalec Cup final on Sunday, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
Scarlets long serving prop Phil John talks to WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie about Judgement Day IV and SSE Swalec Cup finals day. The last time Llandovery were in the cup final in 2007, the Drovers claimed the spoils with Phil playing a major role in the engine room.
Meet Aberdare coach Luke Thomas whose #FABXV nomination goes to super volunteer Daz with a whopping 10 things he does for the club each week, all except the ironing! You can also join in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers, by sending your nomination via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
SSE Swalec Cup kings Pontypridd travelled to Swansea, fully expecting a return to their second home but Llandovery had other ideas as they also sought victory in the semi-final to earn the right to play the final at Principality Stadium