Pro12: Cardiff Blues 28-13 Zebre

 

Cardiff Blues (21) 28

  • Tries: Patchell, Evans, Roberts
  • Cons: Halfpenny 2
  • Pens: Halfpenny 3

Zebre (6) 13

  • Try: Christiano
  • Con: Chiesa
  • Pen: Halangahu 2

Jamie Roberts bade farewell to Cardiff Arms Park with one of three tries as the Blues saw off winless Zebre in the Pro12.

Rhys Patchell and Gavin Evans went over in the opening period for the hosts with Leigh Halfpenny adding a conversion and three penalties.

Zebre's Daniel Halangahu kicked two penalties, but France-bound Roberts powered over after the break.

Filippo Cristiano crossed for Zebre with Alberto Chiesa converting.

Exeter fly-half signing Ceri Sweeney also came on for the final quarter to says his Blues goodbye.

But Phil Davies' side found the drab conditions too poor to make for a spectacular send off for Roberts and Sweeney.

However, the victory was memorable for Roberts who helped his side to only their third home won of a season that began with a move back from Cardiff City Stadium.

Jamie Roberts celebrates his try

Jamie Roberts celebrates his try

Zebre, who host Irish provinces Leinster and Munster in the final two rounds, battled throughout.

But they were unable to mount a a serious challenge and substitute Cristiano's consolation try came in the last minute.

Ex-New South Wales Waratahs Super 15 player Halangahu gave Zebre an second-minute penalty after the Blues infringed at a ruck.

Halfpenny levelled in the 11th minute and the hosts went ahead after back-row forward Michael Paterson stole a Zebre line-out throw for Patchell to squeeze over, Halfpenny converting.

Halfpenny made it 13-3 only for Halangahu to cut the deficit to four points with his second successful penalty, again from breakdown offence.

Halfpenny restored a 10-point advantage for the Blues with a trademark long-range penalty strike.

And it got better when Patchell's counter-attack paved the way for skipper Evans to accelerate and out-sprint the cover for a runaway try to make it 21-6 in favour of the Blues.

Zebre right-wing Leonardo Sarto was sin-binned for attempting to trip Patchell while Halangahu was short with a long-range penalty attempt.

A magnificent leap and catch from Roberts when he chased an up-and-under from Halfpenny led to the Blues securing a penalty, opting to go for a try.

It almost paid off, but Roberts was stopped just short while right wing Owen Williams was bundled into touch near a corner flag.

However, Roberts was not to be denied as handed off several defenders to score, Halfpenny adding the conversion.

Cristiano replied with a try converted by fellow replacement Alberto Chiesa.

TEAMS

Cardiff Blues: Leigh Halfpenny; Owen Williams, Gavin Evans (capt), Jamie Roberts, Harry Robinson; Rhys Patchell, Lewis Jones; Taufa'ao Filise, Marc Breeze, Scott Andrews, Lou Reed, Filo Paulo, Michael Paterson, Robin Copeland, Sam Warburton.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Thomas Davies, Benoit Bourrust, James Down, Luke Hamilton, Alex Walker, Ceri Sweeney. Gareth Davies.

Zebre: Ruggero Trevisan; Leonardo Sarto, Giovanbattista Venditti, Gonzalo Garcia, Sinoti Sinoti; Daniel Halangahu, Alberto Chillon; Matias Aguero, Davide Giazzon, Luciano Leibson, Michael van Vuren, Marco Bortolami (capt), Josh Sole, Filippo Ferrarini, Andries van Schalkwyk.

Replacements: Carlo Festuccia, Andrea de Marchi, Salvatore Perugini, Nicola Belardo, Filippo Cristiano, Tito Tebaldi, Alberto Chiesa, Matteo Pratichetti.

Referee: Lloyd Linton (SRU)

Assistant Referees: Tim Hayes, Julian Smith (both WRU)

Citing Commissioner: Aurwel Morgan (WRU)