Pro12: Cardiff Blues 27-16 NG Dragons

Steven Shingler scores for Cardiff Blues against Newport Gwent Dragons
Steven Shingler scored the opening try inside two minutes
Cardiff Blues (27) 27
Tries: Shingler, Dacey, Navidi Cons: Shingler 3 Pens: Shingler 2
Newport Gwent Dragons (16) 16
Try: Hewitt Con: O'Brien Pens: O'Brien 3

Cardiff Blues closed the gap on sixth-placed Glasgow in the Pro12 as they beat Newport Gwent Dragons, with all 43 points coming in the first half.

Blues dominated possession and territory, but needed a Josh Navidi try on the stroke of half-time to make their advantage tell.

That followed an early score by man-of-the-match Steven Shingler and a close-range touchdown by Kristian Dacey.

Ashton Hewitt crossed for Dragons, while Blues' Shingler scored 17 points.

Shingler's fly-half rival Angus O'Brien kept them in touch with the conversion of Hewitt's try and three penalties.

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Blues v Dragons: Sam Warburton celebrates derby win with a chocolate

After an incident-packed first half, neither team looked like adding a try in the second with Matthew Morgan's penalty miss the closest either team came to scoring after the break.

The hosts contained the Dragons' challenge, but failed to claim the bonus point which looked to be on the cards at half-time.

But after one win in six matches, Cardiff Blues skipper Sam Warburton - making his 100th appearance for the region - said he was happy with a victory.

Leigh Halfpenny watches Blues v Dragons
Toulon and Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny - who has been linked with a possible move to Cardiff Blues - was a spectator at Cardiff Arms Park on Boxing Day

The defeat leaves Kingsley Jones' Dragons in ninth place in the table, and 11 points adrift of the Blues.

They were defiant against the Blues, but hampered by mistakes which cost them dear.

Second row Rynard Landman was shown a yellow card within two minutes of Blues being reduced to 14 when centre Rey Lee-Lo was sent to the bin for a borderline high tackle.

And their occasionally suspect defence was twice exploited by Shingler. Firstly when he burst through Hewitt's tackle to score and when he bamboozled three defenders to set up Navidi.

That try was the last action of the opening half and ultimately gave Blues a cushion they never relinquished.

Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Cory Allen; Steven Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Macauley Cook, James Down, Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton (capt), Nick Williams.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Brad Thyer, Taufa'ao Filise, Jarrad Hoeata, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Nicky Robinson, Garyn Smith.

Dragons: Tom Prydie; Pat Howard, Tyler Morgan, Adam Warren, Ashton Hewitt; Angus O'Brien, Tavis Knoyle; Sam Hobbs, Thomas Rhys Thomas, Lloyd Fairbrother, Cory Hill, Rynard Landman, Lewis Evans (capt), Ollie Griffiths, Ed Jackson.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Thomas Davies, Brok Harris, Matthew Screech, Nick Crosswell, Sarel Pretorius, Carl Meyer, Sam Beard.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Assistant referees: Rhys Thomas, Sean Brickell (both WRU)

Citing commissioner: Jeff Mark (WRU)

TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

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