European Challenge Cup: Cardiff Blues 54-22 Pau

Matthew Morgan is congratulated by Josh Adams for his first-half try
Matthew Morgan is congratulated by Josh Adams for his first-half try
Challenge Cup: Cardiff Blues v Pau
Cardiff Blues (28) 54
Tries: Adams 3, J Evans 2, Thomas, M Morgan, Lane Cons: J Evans (6), Tovey
Pau (10) 22
Tries: Rey, Nueno, Marques Cons: Taylor, Le Bail Pens: Taylor

Josh Adams crossed for a hat-trick on his Cardiff Blues debut as they eased to an eight-try victory over Pau.

Half-backs Jarrod Evans, with a 22-point haul including two tries, and Tomos Williams inspired some champagne rugby.

Ben Thomas, Matthew Morgan and Owen Lane also crossed for the rampant home side.

Tries from Lucas Rey, Pierre Nueno and Samuel Marques provided token rewards for outclassed Pau.

Blues' opening try was a thing of beauty as Adams scored 12 minutes into his debut, brilliantly set up by Jarrod Evans' break with fine support running from Tomos Williams and Olly Robinson.

Although Pau led briefly at 10-7 with captain Rey finishing off an opportunist breakout and Tom Taylor landing two kicks, the home response was clinical with 21 points in eight minutes.

Evans ran onto Williams' chip to score, man of the match Thomas scorched over on his European debut and Owen Lane's sizzling break saw Adams' selfless flick put Morgan in as the bonus point came in 35 minutes.

The try-fest continued in the second half with four tries in a row from kicks. Evans' grubber put Adams over, and after Nueno replied in similar fashion, another Williams kick through saw Evans dive to score and add his sixth conversion before leaving the fray.

Thomas's chip for Lane to score and Jason Tovey to convert was followed by Pau's third from replacement Marques converted by Clovis Le Bail.

But that man Adams had the last word, diving over from Lane's break and Lloyd Williams' raking kick through to bring up the half-century.

The Welsh side travel to Pau for the rematch on Friday still three points adrift of Leicester Tigers.

Cardiff Blues captain Will Boyde told BBC Sport Wales:

"It's a good first time for captaincy in the blue jersey. Playing our style of rugby is just taking it to teams, not being afraid to attack in all areas of the pitch.

"Josh Adams is that sort of player, he knows the way to the try-line, it's been no secret for a while and we're really lucky to have a player like that in our squad.

"Jarrod Evans and Tomos Williams have been doing it here for a long time, but with a bit more maturity and confidence they are willing to do a few more risky things which they're pulling off now.

"A trip to France is not going to be easy, the pitch won't be as quick, so the emphasis will be on the grunt of the forwards to keep the ball longer, then let the backs play in the wide channels."

Pau assistant coach, former Blues captain Paul Tito told BBC Sport Wales:

"We probably allowed them to control the ball with quick phase play from nine and ten, they've changed their game because they were playing quite deep from there and this week they flattened up and seemed to be getting that quick ball.

"It's up to us to pull our socks up at home and put in a performance we'll be proud of."

Cardiff Blues: Morgan; Lane, Lee-Lo, B Thomas, Adams; J Evans, T Williams; Gill, Myhill, Andrews, Ratti, Turnbull, Lewis-Hughes, Robinson, Boyde (c)

Replacements: E Lewis, Domachowski, Assiratti, Cook, Lawrence, L Williams, Tovey, Amos.

Pau: Malie; Purailly, Nueno, Nicot, Septar; Taylor, Le Bail; Moise, Rey (c), Adriaanse, Delannoy, Marchois, Pesenti, Habel-Kuffner, Erbani.

Replacements: Barka, Fisi'ihoi, Boghanmi, Souverbie, Ramsay, Marques, Debaes, Pinto.

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy) Assistants: Manuel Bottino (Italy), Federico Vedovelli (Italy) TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy).

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