Magners League: Cardiff Blues 29-9 Benetton Treviso

Cardiff Blues moved up two places into third in the Magners League table with a lacklustre win over Benetton Treviso.

Looking to boost their hopes of finishing second with a bonus-point win, the Blues could only manage a penalty try and a Xavier Rush score.

Dan Parks kicked the other Blues points with two conversions and five penalties.

Treviso, who had three players sent to the sin bin, managed three first-half penalties from Willem De Waal's boot.

The victory leaves the Blues a point behind second-place Leinster with two away games against the Dragons and the Scarlets to follow.

Scoring four tries was the objective for the home side but the creative spark and composure was missing against a well-drilled and stubborn Italian side.

Tom James came within an inch of converting the early pressure into a try but the winger's toes grazed the touchline as he collected Parks' kick, making his dive over the tryline immaterial.

Scrum-half Richie Rees then made a clean break from his own 22 after a lucky ricochet, but the Blues lacked cohesion in the Treviso half as they looked to recycle the ball, allowing the visiting defence to spoil a great attacking platform.

The Blues maintained field position, though, and another infringement at the ruck resulted in a yellow card for flanker Alessandro Zanni and a fourth successful penalty for Parks with almost half an hour played.

Blues lock Bradley Davies on the charge
The Blues struggled to break through the Treviso defence

Eight minutes later, the visitors were down to 13 men as replacement prop Michele Rizzo followed his team-mate to the sin bin after another offence in a ruck 10 metres from his own tryline.

The Blues opted for a scrum from the resulting penalty, and the referee had little hesitation in awarding a penalty try as the Treviso pack collapsed in retreat.

Parks added the simple conversion, but De Waal replied for Treviso with his third penalty to reduce the home side's advantage to 19-9 at half-time.

Lateral running had been the Blues' biggest hindrance in the opening 40 minutes, with the forwards guilty of denying the ball-starved wings any space out wide.

Losing winger Leigh Halfpenny after just 10 minutes was also significant, forcing centre Jamie Roberts - renowned for his straight midfield running - to move to the right wing.

The listless nature of the Blues' play continued after the break, with their only points of the opening half hour coming from a fifth successful Parks penalty following another Treviso infringement at the breakdown.

Yet more offending in a ruck gave the fly-half another potential shot at goal, but this time Parks kicked for touch, to loud ironic applause from the home crowd at Cardiff City Stadium.

The kick set up a perfect attacking position, and after replacement Deiniol Jones won clean ball from the lineout, a well controlled rolling maul gave Rush the simplest of tasks to fall over the line to score the Blues' second try. Parks converted.

A sense of desperation came into Blues' play in the final 10 minutes, but the stubborn Italians held on with relative ease, despite losing replacement Roberto Barberi into the sin bin in the closing stages.

Cardiff Blues: Chris Czekaj; Leigh Halfpenny, Casey Laulala, Jamie Roberts, Tom James; Dan Parks, Richie Rees; John Yapp, Gareth Williams, Taufa'ao Filise, Bradley Davies, Paul Tito (c), Ma'ama Molitika, Martyn Williams, Xavier Rush.

Replacements: Rhys Williams, Sam Hobbs, Scott Andrews, Deiniol Jones, Michael Paterson, Lloyd Williams, Ceri Sweeney, Dafydd Hewitt.

Treviso: Joseph Maddock; Tommaso Benvenuti, Ezio Galon, Alberto Sgarbi, Ludovico Nitoglia; Willem De Waal, Fabio Semenzato; Augusto Allori, Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), Lorenzo Cittadini, Francesco Minto, Valerio Bernabò, Manoa Vosawai, Alessandro Zanni, Paul Derbyshire.

Replacements: Franco Sbaraglini, Michele Rizzo, Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, Benjamin Vermaak, Robert Barbieri, Simon Picone, Andrew Vilk, Luke McLean.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

Assistant referees: James Jones, Simon Harris.

TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales).