Blues profit as Shingler is shown red

Cardiff Blues 24 London Irish 18

The penny really should have dropped with the players of London Irish last night, especially as Sam Warburton, famously sent off during last month's World Cup semi-final between Wales and France for driving a rival beyond the horizontal in a tackle and landing him smack on his back, was there on the field to serve as a reminder.

So what did Steve Shingler, the young Exiles centre, do midway through the first half? Why, he drove his opposite number Dafydd Hewitt beyond the horizontal and landed him smack on his back. The result? You guessed it.

Shingler knew he would be shown a red card, just as the Wales captain received one in Auckland, and off he trudged, leaving his colleagues, already off their game and under the hammer, in a heap of trouble.

Barely able to cope with Lloyd Williams' razor-sharp work at scrum-half and Casey Laulala's off-loading game in midfield during the 19 minutes they spent with a full complement of personnel, the visitors were hardly likely to keep their tormentors quiet after going a man down.

Yet strange to relate, the accurate Tom Homer kept London Irish in the contest by banging over penalties from a variety of angles and ranges. Even after Williams took advantage of some excellent restart work from Michael Paterson to zip away from Nick Kennedy on an arcing run to the line and reduce the Premiership club's chances of avoiding a second successive European defeat to something resembling zero, they hung in there by hook or by crook.

Denied the services of two injured international backs in Leigh Halfpenny and Jamie Roberts, the Blues still sought to play with ball in hand and showed no little adventure in ensuring that their powerful wings, Alex Cuthbert and Tom James, were fully involved early on. For all that, their opening try was down to a couple of tight forwards: the lock Paul Tito, who took a clean catch at a close-range line-out, and the hooker Rhys Thomas, who burrowed over from the ensuing maul.

With Dan Parks landing the majority of his early kicks, it looked for all the world as though the Blues would be out of sight by the interval, especially as the Exiles, usually so reliable in contact, were coughing up ball for a pastime. At one point, the diminutive Williams stripped the ball clean away from David Paice, a hardened front-row forward. The look of embarrassment on Paice's face told the tale.

Yet the Blues' technical indiscipline allowed Homer enough shots to keep his side interested – the visitors were also helped by the Blues management's peculiar decision to withdraw both Williams and Casey Laulala before the end of the third quarter – and it was not until Parks kicked a fourth penalty from the left of the sticks with 11 minutes left that the outcome was confirmed.

Even then, Homer had a late say, securing a losing bonus point with a sixth successful kick.

Cardiff Blues: C Czekaj; A Cuthbert, C Laulala (G Evans 59), D Hewitt, T James; D Parks, L Williams (R Rees 59); G Jenkins, R Thomas (M Breeze 71), T Filise (S Andrews 60), B Davies, P Tito (capt), M Paterson, S Warburton, X Rush (M Molitika 21).

London Irish: T Homer; T Ojo, J Ansbro, S Shingler, A Thompstone; D Bowden, R Samson (P Hodgson 60); C Dermody (capt, A Corbisiero 56), D Paice (J Buckland 53), F Rautenbach (P Ion h-t), N Kennedy, M Garvey (J Sandford 61), D Danaher, R Thorpe (J Gibson 53), J Sinclair.

Referee: J Garces (France).

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence