Cardiff keep European hopes alive with eight-try rout of Edinburgh

Cardiff Blues 55 Edinburgh 22
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The Independent Online

Cardiff kept their Heineken Cup hopes alive, if only for 24 hours, with an emphatic victory over Edinburgh at the Arms Park last night.

The Blues racked up eight tries to win with ease, but must now sit and hope that the Neath-Swansea Ospreys lose at Leinster tonight to remain among Europe's élite.

Last night's game also marked the end of Andy Moore, the scrum-half whose career began 17 years ago at Cardiff. When Moore first lined up for the Blue and Blacks he did so alongside the likes of Alan Phillips, Bob Norster and John Scott during Cardiff's heyday.

Needing to take everything on offer to qualify for next season's Heineken Cup, Cardiff wrapped up the bonus points within 25 minutes. They got off to the perfect start when their hooker, Rhys Thomas, scored after just 86 seconds.

That set the tone for a free-scoring first half with both sides giving everything to attack. There was little resistance.

Edinburgh's first response, a cheeky length-of-the-field solo try from Mike Blair, off a quickly taken penalty, was testament to that. But open games are what Cardiff thrive on, given the extraordinary pace of their back line. With Iestyn Harris pulling the strings, more tries soon followed. His half-break put Jamie Robinson over before Rhys Williams rounded Hugo Southwell easily, after Dan Baugh's try, to clinch the bonus point.

But Cardiff's Achilles' heel in recent years has been poor discipline. Moore marred his final appearance with a yellow card for a professional foul after Alistair Warnock and Conan Sharman had hit back for Edinburgh.

Cardiff were then forced to spend the last half an hour with only 14 men when Thomas was goaded into head-butting the prop Allan Jacobsen.

Williams and the replacements Andrew Lewis and Pieter Muller completed the rout, ironically against a side who, despite being 11 points below them in the League, had already qualified for the Heineken Cup.

Cardiff: Tries J Robinson 2, R Williams 2, R Thomas, D Baugh, A Lewis, P Muller; Conversions I Harris 4, N Robinson 2; Penalty I Harris. Edinburgh: Tries M Blair, A Warnock, C Sharman; Conversions A Warnock 2; Penalty A Warnock.

Cardiff Blues: R Williams (N MacLeod, 75); D Dewdney, G Robinson, I Harris (P Muller, 72), C Morgan (M Allen, 70); N Robinson, A Moore; J Yapp, R Thomas, D Crompton (K Fourie, 65), H Senekal (C Quinnell, 72), J Brownrigg, D Baugh (R Sowden-Taylor, 24, A Lewis, 50), N Thomas, M Williams (capt).

Edinburgh: H Southwell; C Sharman (G Burns, 75), T Philip, A Dickson, S Webster; A Warnock, M Blair (capt; R Lawson, 69); A Jacobsen (J Brannigan, 55), C di Ciacca (A Kelly, 75), C Smith, G Perrett (N Pike, 55), A Kellock, A Strokosch (T Blackadder, 69), A Dall, A Hogg (R Mathieson, 70).

Referee: A McKay (Ireland).