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.
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
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Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.