Cardiff Blues 14 Castres Olympique 9
Friday 14 January 2011, Heineken Cup
The Blues kicked off the match but Castes showed their power early on with a forward drive carrying the ball 20 yards before the Blues yielded a penalty that Baikeinuku hooked wide. However, he made amends moments later to give the Frenchmen the first score of the night. Parks also missed an early effort but he also made amends with an easier penalty to level the scores.
The Blues were looking to play and won clean ball from the lineout that saw a great move in the backs with Jamie Roberts, Laulala and Czekaj showing great hands and the Blues move into the Castres twenty two where the Frenchman were penalised. Parks put the Blues ahead.
The Blues extended their lead when they won a turnover and Filise took out some defenders in midfield before the ball was recycled and spread wide through Roberts who fed Laulala. The Kiwi centre put in a clever grubber kick that allowed Leigh Halfpenny to show brilliant footballing skills to dribble the ball around fullback Denos, gather, and then had the pace to beat McIntyre to touch down. Parks was wide with the conversion.
Half time Cardiff Blues 11 Castres Olympique 3
The Blues started the second half strongly with Tito again winning clean lineout ball and clever moves in the backs saw Czekaj put into space and gathering his kick. He just failed to get the ball to Williams with nobody in front of the Wales openside. However Castres were penalised, Audrin sent to the bin, and Parks converted.
The Blues had upped the pace of the game and looked threatening, making inroads into the Castres twenty two. However, it was Baikeinuku who got the next penalty following Blues coming in from the side.
Frustratingly decisions seem to be going against the Blues and the game was stagnating with neither side creating much. The Blues nearly scored when Czekaj and Halfpenny carried the ball into the Castres twenty two. They spread the ball left, with Molitika slipping a well timed pass to Tito, who nearly put Pretorius in at the corner, but the ball was knocked on. Encouragingly the Blues won their second scrum against the head, however, they failed to build on that platform.
The game fizzled out with Castres using all their subs and eventually down to 14 men with uncontested scrums. Castres got a late penalty to give them a losing bonus point and all but killing the Blues’ chances of reaching an European quarter final.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj 14 Leigh Halfpenny 13 Casey Laulala 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Richard Mustoe 10 Dan Parks 9 Tom Slater
8 Maama Molitika 7 Martyn Williams (74off) 6 Andries Pretorius 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Deiniol Jones (60off) 3 Tafa’ao Filise 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 John Yapp
16 Gareth Williams 17 Scott Andrews 18 Sam Hobbs 19 Bradley Davies (60on) 20 Ben White (74on) 21 Ceri Sweeney 22 Dafydd Hewitt 23 Tom James
Castres Olympique: 15 Florian Denos 14 Matthieu Nicolas 13 Romain Cabannes 12 Seremaia Baikeinuku 11 Marc Andreu 10 Cameron Mcintyre 9 Alexandre Albouy (C)
8 Jan De Bruin Bornman 7 Steve Malonga 6 Gambo Adamou 5 Kirill Kulemin 4 Matthias Rolland 3 Daniel Saayman 2 Mathieu Bonello 1 Yannick Forestier
16 Akvsenti Giorgadze 17 Anton Peikrishvili 18 Luc Ducalcon 19 Iosefa Tekori 20 Christopher Masoe 21 Romain Teulet 22 Pierre Bernard 23 Yoan Audrin
Tries Halfopenny x 1
Pen Parks x 3
Pen Baikenuku x 2 Bernard x 1
Referee: Andrew Small
Yellow Cards: Yoan Audrin