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Blues and Scarlets both win to close gap on Connacht in Pro14 Conference B

Cardiff came from behind to beat Dragons 13-12 while Scarlets were two points winners over Ospreys.

Dan Jones comes up against Scott Williams.
Dan Jones comes up against Scott Williams.
Image: Andy Watts/INPHO

Updated Dec 26th 2020, 7:32 PM

FOR SO LONG it looked like a little piece of Christmas magic was going to float around the Newport air, six years having passed since Dragons last defeated Cardiff Blues, Josh Lewis nailing the kicks that gave them a 9-3 half-time lead.

But it was not to be. The 13-12 win puts Cardiff fourth in Conference B – two points behind second-place Connacht, who have three games in hand on their Welsh rivals. Leaders Munster have a cushion of 12 points over both Connacht and third-placed, Scarlets, who beat Ospreys 16-14 tonight to join Andy Friend’s team on 20 points. Connacht have a better points differential than Scarlets plus two games in hand on them.

Not for the first time, Cardiff Blues found a way to get one over Dragons, Josh Turnbull getting the game’s only try, Jarrod Evans getting the conversion that makes it 11 wins on the spin for Blues in this fixture.

Dragons burst into life, going 9-0 up after Lewis landed three penalties, Cardiff’s indiscipline all too visible in the opening half.

By the time Lewis got his fourth kick, Dragons had a 12-3 lead – before Evans reduced the gap to six with his second penalty of the day.

That opened the door.

And eventually they knocked it down – Blues winning a penalty, kicking to the corner, winning the line-out, putting together 15 phases, before Turnbull sneaked across the line. Evans added the extras. Twelve minutes remained on the clock – more than enough time for Dragons to come back. They just didn’t have the quality to do so.

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josh-turnbull-scores-a-try Cardiff's Josh Turnbull scores the winning try. Source: Robbie Stephenson/INPHO

Elsewhere this evening, Angus O’Brien got the game-clinching try for Scarlets as they came from behind to defeat Ospreys by two points.

They were made to work hard for it, though – Reuben Morgan-Williams getting a brilliant try in the first-half for Ospreys, who also had kicker, Stephen Myler, on form, getting three penalties as they led at the break.

Scarlets kept in touch though courtesy of Dan Jones, who kicked brilliantly tonight, while the winning try – finished by O’Brien, was created by Blade Thomson.

Their win stemmed from a number of factors. First, they disrupted Ospreys’ line-out in the early stages. Secondly, they kept their composure, even after Morgan-Williams had scored his fine, opportunistic try. Thirdly, the fact Myler’s conversion attempt was disrupted by the wind, proved to be crucial. The winning margin, after all, was two points.

Trailing 8-3 at the break, Jones got a couple of penalties in the third quarter. Myler, too, was landing penalties and they helped Ospreys into a 14-9 lead as the clock ticked towards 73 minutes.

Then came the O’Brien try, the Jones conversion, the Scarlets win.

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