CARDIFF made a welcome return to United Rugby Championship (URC) action on Saturday (Jan 8) but they suffered a 34-10 defeat at the hands of Edinburgh.
For some of the starting fifteen it was their first game in 11 weeks and they were determined to make a good start to the game.
The hosts kicked off but were soon under pressure as Cardiff were able to turn the ball over before Jamie Ritchie was penalised for going in at the side. Rhys Priestland kicked the Black and Blues into Edinburgh territory but despite a number of phases they were unable to find a way through.
And on six minutes the hosts went ahead as the ball came out of the ruck and the ball came to Ramiro Moyano who touched down before Emilian Boffelli added the extras.
Four minutes later they had their second try as Mark Bennett broke and found Boffelli who touched the ball down. He could not add the extras though and the score stayed at 12-0.
Boffelli then socred a penalty to increase Edinburgh’s lead but on 25 minutes the visitors finally got themselves on the scoresheet.
Priestland landed a penalty to bring the score to 15-3.
Just five minutes later though the home side had their third try of the game as Bennett finished well in the corner before Boffelli added the extras.
On the stroke of half time Edinburgh had their bonus point try as James Lang touched down and although the conversion was missed the home side still held a 27-3 lead at the break.
Cardiff knew they would need a stellar second half performance if they were to overturn that deficit.
They did start the second half well with Priestland and Seb Davies both involved but Edinburgh were able to turn the ball over to relieve some of the pressure.
The visitors then suffered a double blow as Liam Belcher was forced off with an injury before James Botham was stretchered off the field with a serious looking injury.
The injuries in the front row meant that Tomos Williams would have to pack down at blindside for the uncontested scrums and also meant they were down to 14 men
Despite that Cardiff were able to get the first score of the second half as Owen Lane kicked the ball ahead and kicked on twice more before winning the race to touch the ball down.
Jarrod Evans then added the extras to make it 27-10.
Back came Edinburgh though and with six minutes to go they had their fifth try as Bennett scored his second of the game.
The conversion made it 34-10 but Cardiff continued to look to put points on the board.
Owen Lane beat three defenders after running from his own 22 but there was no support for him and he was eventually forced into touch.
The win sees Edinburgh move to the top of the table while Cardiff sit tenth in the table.
Cardiff are in action on Friday, January 14, when they host Harlequins in the European Champions Cup, kick off at 8pm.
That game will be played behind closed doors as Welsh Government restrictions mean that fans are unable to attend.
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