Cardiff Blues fly half Ceri Sweeney scores against Newcastle Falcons.
Cardiff Blues comfortably eased their way into the semi-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup as they ran in a magnificent seven tries against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.
The Blues, who reached the last four of the Heineken Cup last season, ran the ball from start to finish and scored 38 points in the second half.
Full back Ben Blair helped himself to 25 points as he added the extra points to all seven tries, bagged one himself and also landed two penalties. There were also two tries for Tongan prop Tau Filise.
The Falcons defended bravely in the opening 40minutes and should have been within one point of their visitors at the break. But acting skipper Jimmy Gopperth missed with a 45 metre penalty on the stroke of half-time and that allowed the Blues to go into the interval with a 17-13 lead.
The only Welsh side now left in either European competition, the Blues ran in two tries in the opening 15 minutes to lead 14-3, Casey Laulala and Martyn Williams crossing, but were pegged back to a single point advantage when Charlie Amesbury slipped out of a tackle to cross.
Gopperth added the conversion and also kicked two penalties, but then fatally missed with his last penalty shot of the half.
The Blues were in no mood to hand around in the second half to secure the win and added 31 points in a blistering 18 minutes that ruthlessly killed off their hosts' hopes. Filise charged over for the first and last of the four tries they scored in that time and Blair and the outstanding Jamie Roberts got the others.
Blair couldn't miss with his golden boot and kept the scoreboard ticking over. He added the extras to all four and then also converted Ceri Sweeney's final try.
Victory for the Blues means they are the only one of the three Heineken Cup teams who joined the Amlin Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stages who survived.
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Wales U20 face a tough group in the Junior World Championship with France, England and Japan lying in wait but Attack coach Jason Strange and back rower Tom Phillips are looking forward to the campaign ahead.
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Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.