Cardiff Blues avenged their St Stephen’s Day home defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons in the Guinness Pro12 as they held on in the final moments to record a first league away win since September.
There was only one try in a match which was scrappy in the opening half but livened up after the break.
That came from Blues centre Cory Allen after 17 minutes as the Cardiff side’s influential Kiwi outside-half Gareth Anscombe added two penalties and was integral to their win.
The Dragons stayed in the game due to three penalties from full-back Tom Prydie.
A lot was on the line both in terms of league position and local pride. The Dragons made a great start when Welsh international wing Prydie, playing at full-back in this clash, landed a 30-metre penalty when the Blues strayed offside. After missing a 45-metre penalty, Anscombe was the playmaker in the try. It came after pressure from the Blues in the home 22 and, as the ball went left, Anscombe threw a precise pass wide for Wales star Allen to grab, dance inside defending wing Matthew Pewtner and just get across the line as Pewtner tried to pull him down.
Anscombe missed a difficult conversion but he was again at the fore to keep the Dragons on their toes by scurrying past the midfield and towards the 22. Blues tight-head prop Taufa’ao Filise was penalised frequently at scrums by referee Lyn Davies and, as such, was in danger of being sin-binned so was replaced by Wales international Adam Jones at half-time.
Anscombe extended the Blues’ lead with a 30-metre penalty on 42 minutes but Prydie returned the penalty after a bit of pushing and shoving on the Blues’ 22.
Pewtner went over for a try but it was ruled out for crossing by the Dragons.
However, a third Prydie penalty gave the Gwent outfit a 9-8 lead on the hour.
As the clock ticked down, an attempted long-range drop-goal from home replacement Dorian Jones touched in flight. It gave the Dragons a scrum five metres out but, as the clock signalled full-time, the home pack contrived to give away a penalty. Anscombe cleared and the Blues supporters cheered at gaining their revenge.
Scorers for Dragons: Pens: Prydie (3)
Scorers for Blues: Try: Allen, Pen: Anscombe, Drop-goal: Anscombe
DRAGONS: T Prydie; M Pewtner, T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos, J Tovey (D Jones 67), R Rees (J Evans 48); P Price (O Evans 69), E Dee, B Harris (D Way 69), A Coombs (C Hill 69), R Landman (capt), J Thomas, T Faletau, N Cudd
BLUES: J Tuculet; R Smith, C Allen, G Evans, L Amorosino; G Anscombe, T Knoyle; G Jenkins (capt, S Hobbs 71), K Dacey (M Rees 56), T Filise (A Jones ht), J Hoeata (M Cook 54), F Paulo, J Turnbull (M Vosawai 54), J Navidi, S Warburton
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)