Challenge Cup: Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo 18-33 Cardiff Blues

Manoa Vosawai scores
Manoa Vosawai scored the try that gave the Blues a bonus point in Rovigo.
Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo (10) 18
Tries: Rodriguez, Montauriol Con: Farolini Pens: Farolini (2)
Cardiff Blues (19) 33
Tries: Jenkins (2), Turnbull, Vosawi, Cook Cons: Patchell (4)

Cardiff Blues made it two out of two in the European Challenge Cup with a hard-fought bonus point win over Rovigo.

The Italian semi-pros led after fly-half Luciano Rodriguez crossed, with Davide Farolini converting.

Blues took control with two tries by Gethin Jenkins and a third by Josh Turnbull, but a Farolini penalty kept the hosts in touch at half-time.

Farolini struck again, but tries by Manoa Vosawai and Macauley Cook sealed the win, before Montauriol crossed.

The result sees the Blues join London Irish on 10 points at the top of Pool One, with the teams due to meet on consecutive weekends on 6 and 13 December.

Blues coach Mark Hammett made eight changes from the team that beat Grenoble 37-14 on the opening weekend of the tournament, and they made a slow start.

Their response to Farolini's early touchdown was to keep the ball tight with their lineout and driving maul posing problems for the home team.

Wales international loose-head Gethin Jenkins benefitted with two touchdowns - his first since returning from Toulon in 2013.

The Blues stuttered after the interval with the Italian team's own driving game earning a penalty which full-back Farolini kicked to reduce the deficit to six points.

But the Welsh region's lineout dominance proved decisive with number eight Vosawi and second-row Macauley Cook completing a try-scoring monopoly for the forwards.

Home captain Jean-François Montauriol claimed a consolation try in the last play of the game, but it was mission accomplished for the Blues.

Blues Director of Rugby Mark Hammett told BBC Radio Wales: "It's a difficult place to come and play and we were well aware of that, and playing a team that doesn't have a lot of strategy but has a lot of passion can sometimes be difficult so I was quite pleased.

"You saw very clearly that wasn't our top side that we had out there today but it gave us an opportunity to blood some of the young boys and give some others a break.

"Ultimately five points was what we were looking to come away with and we got that."


Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo: Farolini, McCann, Majstorovic, Menon, L. Lubian, Rodriguez, Frati, Roan, Ceccato, Ravalle, Maran, Montauriol, Ruffolo, Caffini, Zanini.

Replacements: Bortolussi for L. Lubian (66), Pavanello for Rodriguez (72), Bronzini for Frati (58), Mahoney for Roan (66), Quaglio for Ravalle (59), E. Lubian for Maran (61), De Marchi for Zanini (59). Not Used: Gajion.

Cardiff Blues: Rhys Patchell; Richard Smith, Cory Allen, Adam Thomas, Dan Fish; Gareth Davies, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Chris Dicomidis, Macauley Cook, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi (capt), Manoa Vosawai.

Replacements: G. Evans for A. Thomas (42), R. Williams for Dacey (67), A. Jones for Andrews (60). Not Used: T. Davies, Paulo, E. Jenkins, L. Jones, Walsh.

Referee: Laurent Cardona (France)

Assistant referees: Christophe Berdos (France), Laurent Amic (France)

Fourth Official: Simone Boaretto (Italy)

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