Blues take narrow win against Biarritz

Biarritz 6 Cardiff Blues 10

Biarritz 6 Cardiff Blues 10

Cardiff remain top of Pool Six in the Heineken Cup after a workmanlike victory over Biarritz at Parc des Sports Aguilera today.

Jamie Robinson scored the game's only try after 13 minutes as Cardiff produced a stern defensive display to clinch just their second win in France.

Biarritz hit back through penalties from Damien Traille and Julien Peyrelongue but the result stretched Cardiff's unbeaten run in the pool to four games and left them on the verge of qualification for the quarter-finals.

Cardiff have struggled for success in France but made a dream start when they took the lead after 10 minutes following an infringement at a ruck.

That allowed Ben Blair the simple task of converting the opening points before Robinson pounced for the game's first try moments later.

Biarritz full-back Benjamin Thiery scuffed his clearance kick, which was charged down by Gareth Thomas, and centre Robinson kept his composure to touch down on the bouncing ball.

Thiery made amends after 26 minutes when he raced onto his own kick, Cardiff were penalised for not rolling away and Traille stroked over the resulting penalty.

That was indicative of a scrappy game in sodden conditions that saw both sides suffer at the hands of Irish official Peter Fitzgibbon.

After a poor start, Biarritz clawed their way back into the game when Nick Robinson was charged down in midfield.

Opposite number Peyrelongue kicked ahead twice before Ilikena Bolakoro snagged Leigh Halfpenny deep inside his own territory, forcing the Wales wing into conceding another penalty.

From closer range, Peyrelongue cut the lead to 10-6, as it remained until the break after the Biarritz outside-half struck the post with his second effort three minutes before the break.

The second half brought little respite for Cardiff as Biarritz set up camp in their opponents' territory.

Cardiff survived an early scare when Blair was charged down by Bolakoro only for fly-half Nick Robinson to clear up the danger.

Biarritz mounted a series of surges to the Cardiff line, with number eight Imanol Harinordoquy heavily involved, as was South African prop Eduard Coetzee, who was held up over the try line by a combination of Gareth Williams and Martyn Williams as Cardiff dug deep.

Scrum-half Fabien Cibray saw a drop goal attempt fall well short before Biarritz, struggling to make an impression on the four-point deficit, rung the changes.

The French side threw on the experience of veteran hooker Benoit August as they emptied the replacements' bench but then lost key forward Harinordoquy to a leg injury just before the hour mark.

That forced Biarritz to look wide for success but they found Cardiff's back three of Blair, Halfpenny and Thomas up to the task.

Yet another deflected kick offered Biarritz one final chance to steal victory eight minutes from time.

Cardiff's Jason Spice saw his kick blocked and opposite number Laurent Tranier scampered clear.

Traille provided the link only for Thiery's wild pass to bring the attack to an abrupt end, and with it Biarritz's hopes.

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