Cardiff Blues 34 Bristol 13
Sunday 1.00pm kick off Heineken Cup
The opening minutes of the match saw both teams keeping the ball tight and battering at each other before the Blues got the break through. Great play by Martyn Williams released the backs and Tom Shanklin passed out to Tom James who rounded his man to score, only for the try to be disallowed for a forward pass.
With Shanklin on top form their seemed to be a certain try to be taken when the Blues broke from their own twenty two with no defence ahead of them. However, the referee again judged it was a forward pass.
Bristol were then awarded a penalty for hands in ruck and against the run of play they took the lead.
Ben Blair was looking sharp and cut the defence with one side step and when attacking the Bristol line again. The kiwi had full back had his first shot at goal from 40 yards out after Bristol infringed and struck it right between the posts.
Bristol soon regained the lead. They attacked on the break and a chip ahead by Tom Arscott was gathered by David Hill who scored the first try of the match, converted by Strange.
Bristol were then awarded a further penalty after the Blues had defended bravely on their line. They opted for the lineout but the Blues showed their strength pushing them back however the ref awarded another penalty to the West Country outfit. They opted to go for the posts and Strange once again converted.
There was just enough time in the half for a final attack from the Blues. Young outside half Dai Flanagan showed a flash of brilliance, with a perfectly weighted chip over the top that Jamie Robinson caught and ran in under the posts. Blair converted.
Half Time Cardiff Blues 10 Bristol 13
Just after the break Bristol were awarded an early second half penalty when it was deemed that the Blues had collapsed the scrum. Strange this time struck it wide. Blair however was more accurate minutes later and levelled the score for the Blues.
There seemed to be a lot of niggle in the match between the Anglo Welsh rivals with a lot being said between the players. Tom Shanklin did well to gather a Bristol kick but as he was counter attacking he was high tackled by Darren Crompton. Crompton was awarded a yellow card. From just inside the Bristol half Blair hit the bottom of the upright with his kick.
A miss kick by Bristol saw the Blues attack and quick hands by Robinson and Rush saw Blair sprint for the corner but held just short. Molitika was on hand and managed to touch down for the Blues’ second try. Blair once again added the conversion.
The Blues started to dominate again and Gethin Jenkins and Rhys Thomas came off the bench to ad weight to the attack. It wasn’t long before they scored again. The Blues passed the ball out wide and had an overlap. Martyn Williams threw the dummy and then sprinted in to score. Blair again converted.
A frantic last 10 minutes saw the Blues throw everything at Bristol. They came to within a yard of the Bristol try-line but somehow they managed to hold the Blues out. However, great work by Tom Shanklin breaking tackles and great strength by Martyn Williams saw the Number 7 cross for his second try.
Bristol did try to attack but great defence man of the match martyn Williams and Blair kept them out. However they did get a consolation through Arscott.
Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair 14 Tom James 13 Jamie Robinson (79off) 12 Tom Shanklin 11 Gareth Thomas 10 Dai Flanagan 9 Jason Spice (75off) 8 Xavier Rush (c) 7 Martyn Williams 6 Maama Molitka 5 Paul Tito (35off/40on) 4 Deiniol Jones (75off) 3 Taufa’ao Filise 2 Gareth Williams 1 John Yapp (55off) 16 Gethin Jenkins (55on) 17 T Rhys Thomas 18 Robert Sidoli (75on) (35on40off) 19 Scott Morgan (78on) 20 Richie Rees (75on/78on) 21 Tal Selley (79on) 22 Rhys Williams
Bristol Rugby 15 David Hill 14 Tom Arscott 13 Rob Higgitt 12 Sam Cox 11 Lee Robinson 10 Jason Strange 9 Shaun Perry 8 Andrew Blowers 7 Joe El Abd 6 Matt Salter (c) 5 Sean Hohneck 4 Nathan Budgett 3 Jason Hobson 2 Mark Regan 1 Darren Crompton 16 David Blaney 17 Alex Clarke, 18 Roy Winters 19 Alfie To'oala 20 Dan Ward-Smith 21 Brian O'Riordan 22 Josh Taumalolo
CARDIFF BLUES BRISTOL
TRIES J. Robinson x 1 David Hill x 1
Molitika x 1 Arscott x 1
M Williams x 2
PENALTIES B Blair x 1 J Strange x 2
CONVERSIONS Blair x 4 J Strange x 1