Pro14: Cardiff Blues 37-8 Zebre
|Pro14: Cardiff Blues v Zebre|
|Cardiff Blues (18) 37|
|Tries: L Williams, Halaholo, Rees, Morgan, James Cons: Shingler 3 Pens: Shingler 2|
|Zebre (3) 8|
|Try: Palazzani Pen: Canna|
Cardiff Blues surged off the bottom of the Conference A table with a bonus-point win over Zebre at the Arms Park.
Tries from Lloyd Williams and Willis Halaholo put Blues in control 18-3 at half-time.
Matthew Rees, Matthew Morgan and Tom James crossed after the break to ensure the Welsh side sealed just their third Pro14 win of the season.
Zebre claimed a late consolation try from Guglielmo Palazzani, to add to Carlo Canna's penalty.
The Italians were fifth in the table but have now been replaced by Blues, leaving another Welsh team - Ospreys - as the bottom side.
Wales and British and Irish Lions prop Gethin Jenkins returned at action for the first time since injuring his knee in April 2017 and the loose-head prop made an immediate impact
The 36-year-old Blues captain turned over possession at a ruck, allowing his backs to spin the ball left where scrum-half Williams was lurking to show the Zebre defence a clean pair of heals to the line.
Steve Shingler missed the tricky conversion, though, and Canna struck a penalty soon after to trim Blues' lead to 5-3.
The home side were able to put some daylight between the teams when Halaholo cut back inside to power over for a try, with Shingler adding the conversion and then his first penalty of the night.
Mattia Bellini nearly hit back for Zebre when he broke clear, but last line of defence Morgan wrapped himself around the centre's ankles to bring him crashing to the turf.
Shingler added another penalty for an 18-3 half-time lead and when hooker Rees was driven over from a rolling maul soon after the restart Blues looked home and dry.
The only question was whether the home side could claim a fourth try for the bonus point and full-back Morgan answered that emphatically, exchanging passes with wing Blaine Scully to seal a further seven points.
There was still time for Wales wing James to add a fifth try and although Zebre replacement Palazzani pulled a late try back to take some of the gloss off the scoreline, Blues will be well pleased with their night's work.
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Blaine Scully, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Tom James; Steve Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins (capt), Matthew Rees, Taufa'ao Filise, Macauley Cook, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Ollie Robinson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, George Earle, Sion Bennett, Tomos Williams, Ben Jones, Rhun Williams.
Zebre: Matteo Minozzi; Giulio Bisegni, Mattia Bellini, Tommaso Castello (capt), Gabriele Di Giulio; Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi; Sami Panico, Oliviero Fabiani, Eduardo Bello, Leonard Krumow, Valerio Bernabò, Giovanni Licata, Johan Meyer, Derick Minnie.
Replacements: Luhandre Luus, Andrea De Marchi, Dario Chistolini, Jacopo Sarto, Renato Giammarioli, Guglielmo Palazzani, Serafin Bordoli, Ciaran Gaffney.
Referee: Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Mike English (Wales)
TMO: Neil Hennessey (Wales)