Roberts returns with force for Blues
Roberts returns with force for BluesSHARE
Jamie Roberts made a winning return to the Cardiff Blues starting line-up with a try in his side's 34-18 PRO12 win over Treviso.
Making his first league start having fully recovered from knee surgery, Roberts touched down for his first try for the Blues since 2010 in a first half the home side dominated at the Cardiff Arms Park.
The Blues made the quicker start with Tom James making a great break inside the first ten minutes and after Treviso were penalised for offside Rhys Patchell gave his side the lead.
On 15 minutes Dan Fish, also recalled to the starting XV, produced a moment of individual brilliance. The fullback evaded three challenges to touch down under the posts as the Blues asserted their dominance early.
Blues prop Benoit Bourrust was then penalised for coming in at the side and Kris Burton converted to get Treviso on the scoreboard.
Roberts then extended the lead in the 30th minute when he bounced off two tackles and to go under the posts. It was great link-up play between Patchell and Roberts which created the try.
The home side were in complete control, leading 17-3 at the break, and things got worse for Treviso immediately after the interval when Robert Barbieri was sent to the sin-bin and Patchell added another three points.
Roberts then saw his pass intercepted by Giulio Toniolatti but Patchell raced back to deny him the try.
The Blues' defence was tested again when Tobias Botes went for the line five metres out but was held up as the home side held strong.
And when the Italians were restored to their full complement their persistence finally paid off as Barbieri powered over for a deserved score after picking up the ball from back of the scrum and driving for the line.
Burton added another penalty 15 minutes from time to bring Treviso back to within a score but the Blues hit back.
Against the run of play Jason Tovey scored a breakaway try, converted by Patchell, only for Bradley Davies' sin bin to give the visitors an opening.
Barbieri went over for his second of the evening but Burton missed the conversion to leave his side more than a score adrift.
And with time up replacement Campese Ma'afu went over for the Blues' bonus point try to seal their first win since their permanent return to the Cardiff Arms Park.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Fish, Roberts, Tovey, Ma'afu
Con: Patchell 4
Pen: Patchell 2
Tries: Barbieri 2
Pen: Burton 2
Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Lou Reed, 4 Bradley Davies (captain), 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Andi Kyriacou, 1 Nathan Trevett.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Campese Ma'afu, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.
Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Edoardo Gori, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Giulio Toniolatti, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Marco Filippucci, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Francesco Minto, 3 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain), 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Jacobus Roux, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Valerio Bernabò, 21 Paul Derbyshire, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Luca Morisi.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Chris Williams (Wales)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (Wales)
Leinster 22-16 Edinburgh
Brendan Macken's two-try double helped Leinster overcome a stubborn Edinburgh side 22-16 to move into the top four of the PRO12.
The young centre started the game on the bench but after replacing the injured Gordon D'Arcy midway through the first half he made quite an impact, scoring twice in the space of ten second-half minutes to give Leinster a decisive lead.
The Irish side came into the game on the back of two successive PRO12 victories over the Dragons and Treviso.
In Italy a week ago it was Jonny Sexton who needed a late drop goal to hand the European champions the win and the Ireland flyhalf took that form into this clash at the RDS with an early try.
Greig Laidlaw kept the visitors in touch but despite a late try from WP Nel, Michael Bradley's team were forced to settle for a losing bonus point.
The game was preceded by a minute's silence for Nevin Spence and his brother Graham and father Noel who passed away in a tragic farming accident last Saturday.
When the game got underway it was Joe Schmidt's team that made the faster start and they took the lead after just eight minutes through Sexton.
The try came after a bullocking run from Ireland prop Cian Healy who caused havoc in the Edinburgh defence.
With the visitors stretched Leinster mounted attack after attack, and eventually the ball was sent wide to Sexton who brushed through a couple of tackles to dive over.
Sexton added the conversion and a penalty five minutes later to send Leinster into a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Laidlaw responded with his first penalty of the day before D'Arcy was forced off, with Macken coming on in his place.
Laidlaw added a second penalty just after the half-hour but Leinster led 10-6 at the break.
The match was evenly poised but two yellow cards in as many minutes, to John Yapp and Sean Cox, gave the home side the initiative.
They took full advantage of their extra men and it was Macken who crossed for their second just before the hour mark.
Sexton missed the conversion, and five minutes later Laidlaw knocked over his third penalty of the day to reduce the deficit to six.
A second try from Macken with quarter of an hour remaining proved decisive, Sexton's conversion stretching the home side's lead to 22-9.
Nel's effort ten minutes from time set up a grandstand finish, with Laidlaw's conversion bringing his side back to within a score but the Irishmen held out for a third win of the campaign.
Tries: Sexton, Macken 2
Cons: Sexton 2
Pens: Laidlaw 2
Yellow cards: Yapp (Edinburgh – 50th min); Cox (Edinburgh – 52nd min)
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Leo Cullen (captain), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Brendan Macken.
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Willem Nel1, 9 Robert McAlpine, 20 Dimitri Basilaia, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Dougie Fife.
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Wales)
Assistant referees: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Trevor Collins (Ireland)
TMO: Alan Rogan (Ireland)
Munster 33-13 Newport Gwent Dragons
Simon Zebo provided the star quality as an under-construction Munster side dismantled the Newport-Gwent Dragons 33-13 at Thomond Park.
Zebo scored one try and created two others for Ian Keatley and Niall Ronan while Conor Murray and Tommy O'Donnell also crossed for the Munstermen who have now won three of their four opening PRO12 fixtures.
The Dragons only found their way over the line once in the shape of full-back Dan Evans but his back-three partner Tom Prydie suffered a bad day with the boot, hitting just one of his three attempts before Lewis Robling took over his duties.
Both sides came into the game having tasted defeat in the last round and consequently both head coaches had named much-changed sides.
But it was the eight new faces in Rob Penney's starting XV which gelled the quickest and after 90 seconds they were on the scoreboard.
Zebo, in his first league start of the season, combined with captain Doug Howlett on the left wing and passed on to Keatley for a try.
With Ronan O'Gara's conversion, the home side were ahead 7-0 but they soon doubled that with another converted try for Ronan – in his first game back in nine months from a knee injury.
The openside flanker benefited from Zebo's hard running and O'Gara converted the score.
The Dragons hit back through a Prydie penalty on 16 minutes but had to wait until the 42nd minute of the first half for their next three points, which came from Robling, reducing the deficit to 14-6 just before half-time.
The second half started slowly and Dragons' prop Dan Way let his frustrations get to him and was shown a yellow card for coming in at the side.
Murray entered the fray two minutes later, in place of Peter Stringer, and the scrumhalf immediately took advantage of the extra man with a try.
O'Gara could not convert but soon had a chance to redeem himself after Zebo's first league try for his province since May.
And with the Irish international flyhalf's successful effort, Munster streaked ahead on the scoreboard 26-6.
The Dragons pulled a try back through Evans just after the hour mark but any thoughts of a comeback were dispelled when replacement O'Donnell crossed six minutes from time, O'Gara converting to complete the win.
Tries: Keatley, Ronan, Murray, Zebo, O'Donnell
Cons: O'Gara 4
Pens: Prydie, Robling
Yellow cards: O'Callaghan (Munster – 17th min) ; Way (Dragons – 49th min)
Munster: 15 Ian Keatley, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Keith Earls, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Marcus Horan.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Danny Barnes, 23 JJ Hanrahan.
Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Lewis Robling, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Tom Brown. 7 Jevon Groves, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Ian Nimmo, 3 Dan Way, 2 Steve Jones (captain), 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Tim Ryan, 19 Toby Faletau, 20 Lewis Evans, 21 Liam Davies, 22 Andy Tuilagi, 23 Pat Leach.
Assistant referees: Mark Patton, David Connolly (Ireland)
TMO: Jude Quinn (Ireland)