Cardiff Blues produced a confident and clinical performance in claiming a 35-5 bonus point win against Harlequins at Arms Park, despite their slim hopes of an LV= Cup semi-final slipping away.
First-half tries for Filo Paulo and Gavin Evans put the hosts in charge, before Ollie Lindsay-Hague pulled one back for Quins shortly before the break.
However, the Blues ran away with the second half, as Dan Fish, Tom Williams and Marc Breeze each scored to hand them maximum points, but Sale Sharks killed off any hopes of progression by claiming a bonus point.
The game got off to a slightly sour start, when Blues fly-half Gareth Davies was replaced by Simon Humberstone after just three minutes following an innocuous-looking clash.
An even opening quarter of an hour ensued, with neither side threatening the opposition’s line with any real penetration.
Quins looked to turn the screw after the 20-minute mark and carved open a string of opportunities, the best of which saw Humberstone halt Maurie Fa’asavalu just short of the line and smartly dislodge the ball from the flanker’s grip.
But it was the hosts who drew first blood, through Paulo’s opening try on the half-hour mark.
After some excellent play at the base of the scrum Lewis Jones made a break and offloaded to Paulo, who squeezed over the line in the corner, which Humberstone duly converted.
And the Blues soon capitalised on their advantage, when Evans dotted down five minutes later and Humberstone added the extras, sending the hosts into a 14-0 lead.
Ben Botica missed a penalty for Quins two minutes before the break but Lindsay-Hague made amends on the stroke of half time.
The visitors’ full-back touched down with the final decisive act of the half as Botica once again failed from the tee with resulting conversion, sending Harlequins into the break 14-5 behind.
Cardiff got the second half off to a flying start with a third converted try, as Fish finished off a neat move to re-establish a commanding lead for the hosts.
And they collected a bonus point just five minutes later when full-back Williams took his opportunity to add a fourth try, which Humberstone once again converted.
From then on the hosts did not look like surrendering the lead, despite Sam Hobbs’ stint in the sin bin on 65 minutes, as Quins struggled to get back into the contest.
And the Blues made it five in the dying minutes, as Breeze crossed the whitewash and Humberstone once again added the extras – though other results ensured they could not reach the last four.
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