Cardiff Blues scored 38 unanswered points in the first half as they cruised to a 41-17 victory over the Scarlets on Friday to boost their Pro14 play-off hopes.
Less than a week after Wales’ Grand Slam-clinching triumph over Ireland, and in the shadow of the Principality Stadium, Blues coach John Mulvihill threw Six Nations stars Josh Navidi and Gareth Anscombe straight back into his starting XV.
And Anscombe – playing at full-back after shining at fly-half for his country – was central to the capital region’s success, kicking 16 points, while Aled Summerhill crossed for two of five Blues tries.
The Scarlets held back their own brigade of Grand Slam champions, bringing on Gareth Davies, Ken Owens and Rob Evans at the start of the second half.
Evans scored two tries – his first of the season – as the visitors mounted a response at the Arms Park, but the damage done in the opening period was too much to overcome.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) March 22, 2019
The result sees the fourth-placed Blues stay level on points in Conference A with third-placed Connacht, who triumphed 29-14 over Benetton.
Matt Healy scored two tries as the Irish province got the better of Conference B’s second-placed side, while Jack Carty became their all-time record points scorer with a try that secured a bonus point in the 80th minute.
Connacht’s new all-time record points scorer, and what a way to do it!!
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) March 22, 2019
Leinster are already assured of their play-off spot and suffered only their third defeat of the season at Edinburgh, losing 28-11.
A closely fought first half ended 14-11 in the home side’s favour but tries from Ross Ford – making his 203rd appearance to become the second-most capped player in the competition’s history – and Viliame Mata saw them streak clear after half-time.
Edinburgh now sit just two points off the third play-off spot in Conference B, moving above the Scarlets.
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