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European Challenge Cup: Lyon 18-21 Cardiff Blues

Lloyd Williams won the first of his 28 Wales caps against Argentina in 2011
European Challenge Cup
Lyon (12) 18
Tries: Cretin, Barassi Cons: Beauxis Pens: Beauxis 2
Cardiff Blues (7) 21
Tries: L Williams, Pen Try, T Williams Cons: Evans 2

Challenge Cup Pool winners Cardiff Blues rounded off their group matches with a tense 21-18 win at Lyon and will go to Edinburgh in the quarter-finals.

Jarrod Evans set up and converted tries by scrum-halves Lloyd and Tomos Williams, while they were also awarded a penalty try.

They held out at a last-minute scrum-five to earn the points.

Connacht’s earlier win over Oyonnax meant the Welsh side had no chance of earning a home quarter-final.

Edinburgh later lost at Stade Francais, but still managed to secure a home draw in the knock-outs.

Lyon scored from the kick-off as they swept downfield for Dylan Cretin to score, while Pierre-Louis Barassi took advantage of a defensive slip by Alex Cuthbert to finish off another counter-attack after 23 minutes.

Both sides wasted gilt-edged chances through handling errors, while Cardiff Blues turned down a series of penalty kicks only to fail to score from the attacking line-outs.

Evans’ fly-half magic

But they always looked dangerous with ball in hand and Evans’ break put Lloyd Williams in with the last move of the half, Evans’ goal making it 12-7.

A penalty try for dragging down a rolling maul earned the visitors a narrow advantage after 45 minutes, only for Lionel Beauxis to bang over two penalties to put Lyon four points ahead.

But Evans’ magic paid off with a fine break to put Tomos Williams over in a rare Blues attack with quarter of an hour to go, Evans converting.

The Welsh region ended the game defending desperately, but Lyon could not score from a line-out and scrum close to the line, and the Blues were able to celebrate a second win in France of the campaign.

Blues fly-half Jarrod Evans told BBC Sport Wales: “We gave some soft tries away early on, but we came out in the second a different side and we were back to our usual selves in defence with a bit more energy about us.

“The move for the tries is something we’ve worked on, with the scrum-half tracking on the inside in support, and luckily off the two breaks, Lloyd and Tom (Williams) were there for both of them with good work off the ball.

“The quarter-final going to be a big occasion for us, we’re just happy to be in it.”

Lyon: Jean-Marcellin Buttin; Delon Armitage, Pierre-Louis Barassi, Thibaut Regard, Jone Tuva; Lionel Beauxis, Frédéric Michalak; Stéphane Clement, Virgile Lacombe, Clément Ric, Francois van der Merwe, Hendrik Roodt, Dylan Cretin, Theophile Cotte, Tai Tuifua.

Replacements: Enzo Pakihivatau, Alexandre Menini, Richard Choirat, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Josh Bekhuis, Alexis Palisson, Theo Belan, Jonathan Pélissié.

Cardiff Blues: Gareth Anscombe; Alex Cuthbert, Garyn Smith, Rey Lee-Lo, Blaine Scully; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins (capt), Matthew Rees, Dillon Lewis, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Macauley Cook, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Brad Thyer, Scott Andrews, James Down, Olly Robinson, Tomos Williams, Steve Shingler, Rhun Williams.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)

Assistant referees: Adam Leal (Eng), Dean Richards (Eng).

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