Sun, Jan 25, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Cardiff grab top seeding while Gloucester miss out

AFP , PARIS

Biarritz’s Imanol Harinordoquy grabs the ball in front of Gloucester’s Alex Brown during their European Cup match in Biarritz, France, on Friday.

PHOTO: AFP

Rampant Cardiff Blues made it a perfect six wins out of six European Cup outings with a nine-try, 62-20 demolition of Calvisano on Friday to grab top seeding and a home clash in the quarter-finals.

In the night’s other Pool 6 clash, Gloucester’s slim hopes of claiming a place in the last eight as a best runner-up ended in a demoralizing 24-10 defeat by Biarritz, who are also eliminated.

Cardiff, who made sure of top spot in Pool 6 last week with a come-from-behind 16-12 win at Gloucester, despite playing most of the match with 14 men, were unstoppable against their awkward Italian opponents.

Gareth Thomas (2), T Rhys Thomas (2), Ben Blair, Xavier Rush, Leigh Halfpenny, Martyn Williams and Maama Molitika all scored as Cardiff became only the sixth team in European Cup history to win all their group games.

Blues boss Dai Young said he would be quite happy if Cardiff decided to switch their home quarter-final to the Millennium Stadium, next door to their Cardiff Arms Park home.

“I won’t object to moving. I’m sure the powers that be above me will look at it commercially,” Young said.

Calvisano scored two tries, but they still have not won a match in their last five seasons in the competition.

In France, Biarritz stormed into a 17-0 lead after just 15 minutes over a shellshocked Gloucester.

No. 8 Imanol Harinordoquy and mercurial scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili both crossed as the Englishmen struggled to settle in the wet, muddy conditions.

But Gloucester, who needed a bonus-point win to have any hope of securing a quarter-final spot, battled back with England winger James Simpson-Daniel reducing the margin, finishing off a flowing move.

Olly Barkley converted and then added a penalty to make the score 17-10 at the interval.

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