Blues get back to winning ways, Gloucester make winning start to title defence


Cardiff Blues gained a much-needed confidence boost by thrashing Calvisano 50-9 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday.

Winless in their last six Pro12 fixtures, the Blues ran in seven tries at Centro Sportivo San Michele - Lloyd Williams among those to cross on his 100th appearance for the region.

Calvisano were still in touch when they trailed 15-6 at the break, only to fall away thereafter as Cardiff romped to victory.

Defending Challenge Cup champions Gloucester were unable to claim a bonus point in a 23-10 victory over Zebre.

Tries from Henry Purdy, Ross Moriarty and Stevie McColl put the English side firmly in control, but the only points of the second half went to Zebre, courtesy of a penalty try and two kicks from Edoardo Padovani.

London Irish claimed a comfortable win, scoring four tries in each half to beat Agen 48-10, while Worcester Warriors beat La Rochelle 19-3.

Connacht, meanwhile, battled to a 31-14 bonus-point win over Enisei-STM as sub-zero temperatures made for tricky conditions in Siberia.

The players of Connacht will spend Saturday evening in Krasnoyarsk after a technical fault delayed their scheduled flight home.

Pau and Castres were set to round off the day's action, but their match - together with four other French-based European games set to take place this weekend - was postponed following Friday's terror attacks in Paris.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) chairman Simon Halliday said: "It simply would not have been appropriate in the tragic circumstances to have staged the five French-based European games this weekend. We trust that the clubs and their fans who travelled to France will understand why we took this decision in conjunction with the LNR [France's National Rugby League].

"We salute Toulouse in the Champions Cup, and both La Rochelle and Agen in the Challenge Cup, who are competing in England today. When France is in a period of national mourning, we are acutely aware that this is a particularly difficult time for everyone associated with the country, and we thank Toulouse, La Rochelle and Agen for their great sportsmanship."