Pro12: Cardiff Blues 30-24 Zebre
|Pro12: Cardiff Blues v Zebre|
|Cardiff Blues (23) 30|
|Tries: Anscombe, Summerhill, T Williams Cons: Anscombe 3, Pens: Anscombe 3|
|Zebre (3) 24|
|Tries: Mbanda, Van Schalkwyk, Penalty Try Cons: Canna 2, Palazzani Pen: Canna|
Cardiff Blues laboured to an unconvincing Pro12 home win over Zebre despite leading by 20 points at the break.
Fly-half Gareth Anscombe scored 20 points including a try while Aled Summerhill and Tomos Williams also crossed.
But Zebre's second-half scores came from Maxime Mbanda, Andries van Schalkwyk and a penalty try.
Their late effort came despite having replacement Dario Chistolini sent off.
The Blues' two first-half tries came in quick succession midway through the first 40 minutes, with Anscombe making the most of an overlap and Summerhill scorching in from half-way.
Anscombe's boot made it 23-3 at the break, reminding the Wales management of his challenge for a summer tour recall.
The Italians came out strongly after the break and a series of scrum-fives saw Taufa'ao Filise yellow-carded and a penalty try converted by Carlo Canna.
Tomos Williams grabbed the home side's third try on 57 minutes following his own charge-down.
Moments later the scrum-half saw a spectacular solo effort ruled out for an earlier knock-on - but that was as close as the home side got to a bonus point.
Zebre hit back as Mbanda drove over from close range, before replacement prop Chistolini was shown the red card with 15 minutes remaining for a senseless punch.
Sion Bennett's yellow evened the numbers for a while with Zebre attacking strongly.
Van Schalkwyk scrambled over in the 79th minute and Guglielmo Palazzani's angled conversion earning them a consolation point.
With the clock past 80 minutes, Zebre burst back upfield through Kurt Baker and Cardiff Blues were relieved to get the ball off the field at the end of a shaky second period.
Danny Wilson's side complete the regular Pro12 season against Newport Gwent Dragons at Caerphilly on 6 May before a European Champions Cup play-off semi-final away to English or French opposition.
Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Aled Summerhill; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Taufa'ao Filise, Jarrad Hoeata, Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Nick Williams.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Scott Andrews, James Down, Sion Bennett, Lloyd Williams, Steve Shingler, Matthew Morgan.
Zebre: Edoardo Padovani; Kayle Van Zyl, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Castello (capt), Mattia Bellini, Carlo Canna; Marcello Violi; Andrea Lovotti, Oliviero Fabiani, Pietro Ceccarelli, Gideon Koegelenberg, Federico Ruzza, Maxime Mbanda, Jacopo Sarto, Derick Minnie.
Replacements: Tommaso D'Apice, Guillermo Roan, Dario Chistolini, Joshua Furno, Andries Van Schalkwyk, Guglielmo Palazzani, Kurt Baker, Matteo Pratichetti.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland).
Assistant referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Ben Whitehouse (Wales).
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland).