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Despite losing at Pool 5 winners Leicester Tigers last weekend, Cardiff Blues are still in contention for one of the best runners-up places in the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-finals – but they will need to do the double over Rugby Calvisano on Saturday to have a chance.
If they stretch their 100% winning record over Italian opponents to eight games with a bonus-point win at Cardiff Arms Park, they will also need Leicester to win at Pau to put them in the mix for one of those three slots.
- Calvisano have lost all 17 of their away ties in the Challenge Cup.
- Cardiff have missed just 74 tackles in this season’s competition, the fewest of all teams.
- Cardiff boast two of the tournament’s six joint top try-scorers this term in Josh Adams and Owen Lane with four apiece.
VIDEO | But before 6N we have our final @ERChallengeCup pool game and we can still qualify for the QFs.
John Mulvihill expects a fast and open game @ArmsParkCardiff and knows all his side can do is secure 5 points.
Tickets available now 029 20 302030 and https://t.co/YF02TJdHEm pic.twitter.com/VriGdakAx6
— Cardiff Blues (@cardiff_blues) January 15, 2020
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Cardiff Blues completed the double over Rugby Calvisano with ease in their European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool 5 tie at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday, but their 10-try spree was in vain.
Pau dashed the Welsh region’s slim hopes of qualifying for the last eight by beating Leicester Tigers and so the Blues had to be content with an eighth successive win over Calvisano, which was never in doubt.
Scrum-half Lewis Jones led the try bonanza with a hat-trick and there was a brace for replacement Lloyd Williams, plus one each for hooker Ethan Lewis, wing Aled Summerhill, flankers Olly Robinson and Shane Lewis-Hughes, and replacement Will Boyde. Jason Tovey landed six conversions and Ben Thomas one.
The Welsh region made a stunning start, with Jones touching down for his first after only two minutes and providing Tovey with a simple conversion.
Champagne rugby! pic.twitter.com/gZOnZ8f9bt
— Cardiff Blues (@cardiff_blues) January 18, 2020
The Italian club, who had lost all 17 of their away games in the Challenge Cup, hit back with Nicolo Casilio’s fifth minute penalty, but that was their only score of the game.
Jones and Tovey combined again to put Cardiff 14-3 ahead in the 10th minute, before Lewis, Summerhill and Robinson crossed for further converted tries to seal the try bonus point and give Cardiff a 35-3 interval lead.
The Blues were quickly off the mark in the second half, with Lewis-Hughes charging over within a minute for a try that Tovey goaled via a post.
Tovey finally missed a conversion when Williams stormed over in the corner five minutes later and Calvisano held out until a late burst from Cardiff brought three tries in the last seven minutes for Boyde, Jones and Williams.
To add to Calvisano’s woe, they had wing Kayle van Zyl and replacement Michele Regonaschi red-carded in the 75th minute.
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