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Blues lock Earle's eye gouging ban appeal fails

George Earle was given an eight-week ban for making contact with the eye area of flanker Tom Ellis during the Blue game against Bath in December. Credit: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

Cardiff Blues lock George Earle has failed to get an eight-week suspension for eye gouging overturned.

The 30 year old was sent off during the Blues' 38-3 European Challenge Cup loss against Bath last month for making contact with the eye area of flanker Tom Ellis. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but was given a two-month ban. Earle appealed the ruling, but an independent committee rejected the bid.

He will not be eligible to play until February 13th.

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FT: Scarlets 15-10 Blues

Scarlets held on to their first half lead to beat Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets.

Scott Williams carried the ball over to increase the Scarlets' lead, with Rhys Patchell securing the conversion. Willis Halaholo brought the Blues back into the game with a try and Steve Shingler closed the gap to five points again.

Aled Thomas had a couple of chances to put the Scarlets further ahead, but could not capitalise on them.

Final score: Scarlets 15-10 Blues.

HT: Scarlets 8-3 Blues

Scarlets welcome Cardiff Blues to Parc y Scarlets in the first derby of New Year's Day.

Steffan Evans put the hosts ahead just after 10 minutes crossing the line with a try. Rhys Patchell added to the lead with a penalty against his former club, but Steve Shingler closed the gap to five points for the Blues shortly after.

Half time score: Scarlets 8-3 Blues.

Shingler to join Cardiff Blues at the end of the season

Credit: Paul Harding/PA Wire.

Scarlets have confirmed outside half Steven Shingler will leave Parc y Scarlets at the end of the season to join Cardiff Blues.

Shingler has made 63 appearances for the Scarlets, to date, in four season scoring 322 points.

A knee injury in the victory over Edinburgh at the Parc will keep Shingler sidelined with an end of season return likely.

Firstly, I’d like to thank Scarlets for their support over the last few seasons. I’m very much looking forward to making a return from injury before the end of the season and helping the Scarlets in the final push for silverware.

I’m looking forward to the new challenge ahead with Cardiff Blues next season but the focus remains fully on the Scarlets until the end of the season

– Steven Shingler

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Scarlets 16 - 6 Blues

Ken Owens scored the match's only try. Credit: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

Captain Ken Owens scored the only try of a scrappy match to help Scarlets register a crucial Guinness Pro12 derby victory over Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets.

The win lifted the west Wales region into sixth place in the league to boost their chances of claiming the final automatic qualification spot for the European Champions' Cup.

It now goes down to final match of the regular season at the weekend when Scarlets travel to Treviso, while Connacht in seventh, four points behind, will host leaders Ospreys.

Owens' try came in the second half after an error-strewn match had been neatly poised at 9-6.

Scarlets were indebted to 11 points from the boot of Rhys Priestland, while Blues' points came by way of two penalties from Rhys Patchell.

Scarlets were at near full-strength although they were without Regan King with concussion. This was Priestland's final home game before he joins Bath in the summer.

The west Wales region were unchanged from the team that beat the Dragons 29-17 on Judgement Day.

Cardiff Blues centre Hewitt retires due to neck injury

Cardiff Blues centre Dafydd Hewitt has been forced to retire from rugby immediately due to a neck injury.

The 29-year-old has only been able to make two appearances this season due to injury, and says being forced to retire is "the worst feeling".

The former Blues vice-captain has played 122 times for the region, scoring 13 tries, since 2006. He previously played for Llantwit Major and Cardiff RFC.

Dafydd Hewitt is among a small group of players to have played over 100 times for Cardiff Blues. Credit: PA

Hewitt was part of the Wales Under 21 Grand Slam-winning team in 2005, and captained the Under 21s at the World Cup in 2006. He was part of the Wales squad that won the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009.

It is hard to put into words how I am feeling at the reality of never wearing my Blues jersey again.

No rugby player expects to be told that they can never again play the game they love - it's the worst feeling. It was my childhood dream to play rugby for the Cardiff Blues, the team I followed as a boy and dreamt of representing. I have loved every moment of being a 'Cardiff Blue' and knew early on that it was a club I never wanted to leave.

I'd like to thank everyone at the Blues; the coaching staff, the management, and the medical team for their invaluable support, especially during the past few months.

I feel privileged to have played with so many great players and have forged friendships for life. I will miss everything about playing rugby and will always be a Cardiff Blue.

– Dafydd Hewitt

Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland described Hewitt as "an outstanding servant, a true role model for young aspiring players, a hugely popular and much-admired professional."

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