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PREVIEW: Crunch time for Cardiff Blues

Thursday 14th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Cardiff Blues know they must pull off a shock victory over pool three leaders Harlequins if they are to reach the knock-out stages of this year's Challenge Cup. - 14/01/2016 10:44

Cardiff Blues know they must pull off a shock victory over pool three leaders Harlequins if they are to reach the knock-out stages of this year’s Challenge Cup.

Danny Wilson takes his Blues side to the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday hoping to end a run of six games without loss for the star-studded Aviva Premiership side.

Quins are yet to lose at home this season in any competition but the Blues, second in pool three with 11 points, must cause an upset if they are to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition they won in 2010.

Blues head coach Danny Wilson said: “There’s an outside chance of going through if we didn’t win this weekend but the reality is we need to win this game and then against Calvisano.

“It’s two sides who are both in good form, they’ve had a very good run and some of the rugby they’ve played in different conditions has been excellent and the depth of quality they have in their squad allows them to do that.

“But we’ve also hit some good form, winning four of our last five, including both our Christmas derbies which has been a long time coming at the Blues. We’ve build a little bit of momentum and he want to take that into this weekend.”

Quins could wrap-up qualification with a win and secure the vital home quarter final. Conor O’Shea’s side have been in superb form in both Europe and their domestic competition in recent weeks and have been able to add the likes of former Blues and Wales star Jamie Roberts to their ranks as they look to compete on both fronts.

Match Facts

  • Harlequins have won five games from five attempts against Welsh opposition, scoring 199 points in the process.
  • Harlequins have won 13 of their last 15 matches in the Challenge Cup and are undefeated so far in 2015/16 (four matches).
  • Cardiff Blues have won five of their last eight away matches in the Challenge Cup, including two wins from three against teams from England.
  • Cardiff have scored exactly 500 points in 14 matches in the Challenge Cup, 140 of which have been against English teams.

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REPORT: Quins resist red-hot Cardiff comeback

Sunday 17th January 2016

12:00 am (GMT)

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Come da pronostico

Come da pronostico

Harlequins resisted a red-hot Cardiff Blues comeback to secure a 34-26 triumph and home Challenge Cup quarter-final.

A Rob Buchanan try kicked off a first-half blitz for Harlequins, before England squad members Marland Yarde and Jack Clifford went over. Ross Chisholm wrapped up the bonus-point before half-time, and Quins were cruising.

But the Blues bounced back in the second period. Dan Fish scored a double to add to tries from Wales stars Cory Allen and Lloyd Williams to claim a try scoring and losing bonus-points, but a last second Ben Botica penalty meant they left the Stoop with only a single bonus-point.

It did not take long for the hosts to stamp their authority on proceedings. Danny Care took a quick tap penalty after a dominant scrum and was stopped just short, before hooker Buchanan burrowed over. Nick Evans converted for a 7-0 advantage after five minutes.

The flying start continued for Quins, and it was their man of the moment Clifford who bagged their second score. The England squad new-boy splintered off a driving maul to crash over, with Evans on-target again to add the extras.

The third try followed soon after, and it was another of Eddie Jones’ England inclusions. The home side rumbled down the field again where they were met by some brave Blues defence, but their resolve was finally broken by flying wing Yarde, who went over from close range. And the bonus-point was wrapped up on half-time when Evans delivered a well-weighted kick to wing Chisholm.

Cory Allen finally got the Blues on the board when he cut a devastating line to crash over just after the break. And the visitors were back in it with half-an-hour remaining. The Blues stretched the home defence before swinging the ball wide to Fish, who dived in at the corner. Lloyd Williams was next to go over for the Welsh region as he spotted a gap, before a sublime pass by Patchell found Fish for the bonus-point score.


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