Shanklin injury mars Blues' victory
May 6, 2009
Blues fullback Ben Blair kicked four penalties in his side's victory over their Welsh rivals
© Associated Press
Tom Shanklin's hopes of featuring for the British and Irish Lions in South Africa were in the balance after he was carried off with a shoulder injury at the Arms Park.
The centre was taken to hospital for an x-ray after coming off the field late on, with his right shoulder heavily strapped. It was an otherwise fine night for the Blues, who were still reeling from their penalty shoot-out exit from the Heineken Cup at the hands of Leicester.
And they claimed a win which improved their chances of competing in next season's competition from an error strewn match.
With the lowest-placed Welsh region in the Magners League forced into a play-off in Italy to determine European qualification, the game was more important than might have been expected of one between the sides placed last but one and last but two in the table.
The Blues recognised its importance by naming seven of Sunday's starting line-up and two of them provided the points to give them an interval lead. Kiwi fullback Ben Blair kicked two early penalties, the second for a ruck offence which earned Dragons prop Adam Black a yellow card from referee Nigel Owens.
The visitors, with a strong wind at their backs, responded with 20-year-old Jason Tovey capitalising on a poor clearance kick by former Dragon Ceri Sweeney and dropping a goal from near halfway. But a careless pass by Dragons fly-half Shaun Connor was grabbed by Blues centre Shanklin, who raced 60 yards to the posts, providing an easy conversion for Blair.
Tovey pulled three points back with a penalty after a good run by Rhodri Gomer-Davies, but, despite their territorial advantage, the Dragons were still behind at the break. After an undistinguished opening to the second period, Blair kicked two penalties and replacement Dragons fly-half James Arlidge responded with one of his own.
Matters seemed to swing the Dragons' way when Blues winger Tom James was sin-binned and Arlidge slotted the resulting kick, but once again the visitors committed suicide with an unforced error.
Flanker Dan Lydiate, on his own 22, tried a looping pass which was grabbed by Blues centre Jamie Robinson to score with ease. Blair converted and the Blues were home and dry.
Cardiff Blues: Blair, G. Thomas, J. Robinson, Shanklin, James, Sweeney, Rees, Jenkins, T. Thomas, Filise, D. Jones, Morgan, Molitika, Sowden-Taylor, A. Powell, Rush.
Replacements: Mustoe for G. Thomas (21), G. Williams for T. Thomas (49), Yapp for Filise (68), Rush for A. Powell (60), Davies for Rush (68). Not Used: N. Robinson, Allinson.
Dragons: Tovey, Wyatt, Gomer-Davies, Smith, Fussell, Connor, W. Evans, Black, Willis, N. Hall, MacDonald, Charteris, Lydiate, L. Evans, Bearman.
Replacements: Arlidge for Connor (41), Gustafson for L. Evans (11). Not Used: Walker, Brew, S. Jones, A. Hall, Webb.
Att : 6,608
Ref: Nigel Owens (WRFU).