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PREVIEW: Crunch time for the Blues

Wednesday 9th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Cardiff Blues have no chance of a Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final but they have it all to play for when they play hosts to Sale Sharks at the Arms Park. - 17/01/2013 18:02

Cardiff Blues have no chance of a Heineken Cup or Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final but they have it all to play for when they play hosts to Sale Sharks at the Arms Park. - 17/01/2013 18:02

Cardiff Blues head into Friday night’s Challenge Cup crunch clash with Montpellier knowing they must win to keep their hopes of qualification alive.

The Welsh region are currently in third place in pool three, level on five points with visitors Montpellier ahead of their meeting with the French outfit at the Arms Park.

The Blues made the best-possible start to their European campaign with a record-breaking 50-9 win away against Calvisano, running in seven tries in Italy.

But a disappointing 32-20 defeat at home to Harlequins in round two has left Wilson’s side having to play catch-up in pool 3.

Defeat at home to would leave Danny Wilson’s Blues with a mountain to climb to qualify behind early pool leaders Harlequins, with a return leg of the double-header Montpellier to come in France next weekend.

The Blues go into Friday’s fixture in good form having ended PRO12 leaders Connacht’s six game winning run with a surprise 20-16 win at home.

Number eight Manoa Vosawai and wing Tom James scored tries, with Rhys Patchell kicking 10 points as the Blues claimed their second home win of the season.

They have never met Montpellier in the Challenge Cup but went down twice to the French side in the Champions Cup 2012/13. It will be the first time Montpellier have faced Welsh opposition in the competition since going head-to-head with Newport in 1997.

Montpellier scored 64 points without reply against Calvisano in round two and, despite a 41-18 defeat to Quins in round one, will fancy their chances of reaching the knock-out stages this time around.

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REPORT: Cardiff comeback settles thriller

Friday 11th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Longtemps dans le coup pour la victoire

Longtemps dans le coup pour la victoire

Cardiff Blues came from behind to win a nine-try thriller against Montpellier at the BT Sports Arms Park.

Josh Navidi marked his return from injury with a try in each half.

Wales trio Rhys Patchell, Lloyd Williams and Alex Cuthbert also crossed as Cardiff scored 27 unanswered points to claim a bonus-point.

Montpellier thought they had snatched two bonus-points of their own when replacement Charles Geli scored four minutes from time.

But Patchell kicked an injury-time penalty to deny the French visitors a losing bonus.

Earlier tries from Jamie Mackintosh, Timoci Nagusa and Julien Malzieu at least ensured Montpellier returned to the south of France for next week’s return match with a point.

Cardiff crossed in the first and last minutes of a thrilling first half though the scores came either side of three tries by Montpellier.

Blues had won their previous three meetings with French teams and got off to a blistering start here with a try after just 43 seconds.

Tom James set off on a sizzling break and Patchell, shifted to full-back following injury to Dan Fish in the warm-up, won the race to his own kick for a dream start.

But Montpellier swiftly silenced the Arms Park with three tries in 14 minutes.

Prop Mackintosh finished a series of drives from the pack. Fly-half Ben Lucas then set up wing Nagusa with great foot-work and then supplied the pass for Malzieu to score out wide for a 20-7 lead.

However Cardiff’s forwards had the edge in the set-pieces and responded before half-time when Navidi finished a lineout drive.

Montpellier were rocked at the start of the second half when they were reduced to 13 men.

Springbok hooker Bismarck Du Plessis was shown a yellow card for infringing at a ruck and replacement lock Robins Tchale-Watchou followed as Williams darted over.

Cuthbert then raced 60 metres for an interception try to regain the lead on 61 minutes.

Williams’ wonderful break ended with James sending Navidi over for a second try ten minutes later.

Geli then cut through for the bonus fourth try and Cameron Wright’s conversion brought them a second for being within seven points. Only for Patchell to kick a late penalty.

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