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Gunners: 13 (6) Blues: 9 (3)

For the second year running, Edinburgh prevailed in Cardiff with this hard-fought victory that goes some way towards reviving their title challenge. Young Mr Lawson had a pretty decent evening, ending with tonight's skipper securing the Man of the Match award from that arch critic of the Scottish game, Jonathan Davies.

For 24 hours at least, they sit level top of the league with Munster and Leinster, on 41 points. The Munstermen have a game in hand, though, against the Dragons in Cork tomorrow evening; a game they would expect to win.

Nevertheless, with the Gunners missing most of their national squad members as Frank Hadden limbers up for Scotland's first game, against France on Saturday week, it was a fine result. In the past, victories in Wales were few and far between. Nowadays not only do the first choice XV churn them out as a matter of routine, but the youngsters and understudies in the squad now know that they can do it too.

With home coach Dai Young having had his resignation rejected earlier in the week, Cardiff were desperate for a win tonight. Yet the Gunners soaked up the early home pressure before veteran playmaker Duncan Hodge gave them the lead with a penalty on 13 minutes after a scrappy opening.

Moving into the second quarter, concerted Edinburgh pressure eventually paid off. The disappointing Arms Park crowd saw the unusual sight of a Rory Lawson dropped goal, to stretch the Gunners' advantage to 6-0.

Five minutes later, home stand-off Lee Thomas got the Blues off the mark on this dismal, damp South Wales evening with a penalty.

6-3 Gunners at half time, with the pack competing well at the breakdown.

Another Thomas penalty five minutes into the second period brought Cardiff level. Then on 57 minutes, the Blues went ahead for the first time in the game when Thomas knocked over a third penalty.

And there was worse to come two minutes later when Ally Dickinson was binned for a ruck offence on 59 minutes. Not having seen the game, it is difficult to make an accurate assessment of the merits of the binning. But given that an Irish official was doing the whistling, it was clearly a characteristically outrageous decision.

Yet it was Edinburgh who took advantage during the power play. On the hour mark, the Gunners took the lead again with a trademark counter with the Blues pressing. When a Cardiff attack broke down, debutant full back Nick de Luca hacked on. He gathered his own kick and released flying winger, Francisco Leonelli, who surged the length of the field to touch down for the converted try that gave Edinburgh a 13-9 advantage that they were to maintain for the rest of the match.

So as we enter the international break, the Gunners are there or thereabouts. But the next league game - at home against another contender, Ulster, on 17 February - will be another must-win match if the dream is to be kept alive.

Blues: Macleod, Czekaj, J. Robinson, Hewitt, Lomu,
L. Thomas, R. Powell, Yapp, Goodfield, Jenkins, Quinnell, Goode, Molitika, Sowden-Taylor, Rush.
Replacements: Stcherbina, Morgan, M. Phillips, B. Evans, Johnson, B. Davies, Lewis.

Edinburgh: De Luca, Leonelli Morey, Godman, Dey, Webster, Hodge, Lawson, Jacobsen, Kelly, Dickinson, Strokosch, Duley, Mustchin, Cross, Callam. Replacements: Traynor, Smith, Rennie, MacDonald, Monro, Jorgensen, Pyke.

Referee: Clancy (Ireland)