Heineken Cup: Edinburgh 19-12 Cardiff Blues

Netani Talei was a powerful performer for Edinburgh
Edinburgh produced a powerful first-half display at Murrayfield

Edinburgh turned in an impressive first-half showing to beat Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Cup.

But a late Leigh Halfpenny penalty earned the visitors a bonus point that keeps them at the top of Pool 2.

An excellent break from Nick De Luca allowed Tim Visser to slip in at the corner for an early try and Greig Laidlaw kicked the rest of the points to establish a 19-3 half-time lead.

Dan Parks scored three penalties for the out-of-sorts Blues.

The Welsh side were convincing 25-8 winners against Edinburgh last weekend but were simply swept aside by the fired-up hosts in the first 40 minutes to leave the sides locked on 13 points each.

Much of Edinburgh's good play came through Laidlaw, who was operating in the number 10 jersey, allowing Mike Blair to return at scrum-half.

Laidlaw scored two penalties before the Edinburgh captain sparked the move which led to the game's only try.

He found Nick De Luca with a short pass and the centre skipped away from a couple of opponents before feeding Visser to crash over in the right corner. Laidlaw converted.

Parks responded following an 18th-minute scrum penalty but Edinburgh continued to heap on the pressure.

Visser came close to a second try when fielding Laidlaw's cross-field kick but the winger was stopped by an illegal tackle from Casey Laulala.

Advantage was played and the move was repeated to the opposite corner only for Visser to knock on Laidlaw's kick with the try line at his mercy.

A further wave of home advances ended with Laidlaw dropping a goal from close range.

And a rattled Cardiff's indiscipline presented Laidlaw with another penalty as he opened up a 16-point half-time lead.

As Edinburgh tired, Blues began to take a grip on the game around the 55-minute mark but Halfpenny dropped a simple pass in sight of the line and then Taufaao Filise allowed the ball to slip out of his grasp in a promising position.

Parks reduced the deficit with a penalty before Bradley Davies lost his footing on another dangerous break forward.

With Edinburgh complaining that an advantage had long passed, Parks popped over another penalty to leave the Blues 10 points adrift with 10 minutes remaining.

But Edinburgh held firm without too much fuss, while Halfpenny kicked a long-range penalty to grab a losing bonus point in the 79th minute.

Edinburgh: Paterson, Jones, De Luca, King, Visser, Laidlaw, M. Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Gilchrist, Cox, Denton, Grant, Talei. Replacements: Scott for King (73), T. Brown for Visser (74), Traynor for Jacobsen (79), Lawrie for Ford (73), Gilding for Cross (64), Lozada for Gilchrist (79), Rennie for Talei (70). Not Used: Godman.

Cardiff Blues: Pens: Parks 3, Halfpenny. Cardiff Blues: Halfpenny, Evans, Laulala, Roberts, Czekaj, Parks, L. Williams, G. Jenkins, T. Thomas, Filise, B. Davies, Tito, Paterson, Warburton, Rush. Replacements: Hewitt for Czekaj (40), Molitika for Paterson (49). Not Used: Tyrell, Yapp, Andrews, Navidi, Rees, Sweeney.

Att: 4,384

Ref: Pascal Gauzere (France).

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