Cardiff Blues 37 Gloucester 24
Sunday 19 October 3.00pm kick off Millennium Stadium
Thousands of Cardiff Blues supporter entered the Millennium Stadium to cheer on their team and the The Blues soon silenced the visiting Gloucester fans when they got on the scoreboard in the opening minutes.
The Blues gained possession and Jamie Robinson picked up a bouncing pass and managed to shift the ball on to Ben Blair who had come into the line and passed on to Halfpenny who still had a lot of work to do. He appeared to loose his balance but still had the calmness to side step Olly Morgan and dive over for the try. Blair added the conversion in a thrilling start to the match.
It wasnt one way traffic and Gloucester were attacking well but the Blues defence remained solid. When they did work their way into the Gloucester half they were awarded with a penalty that Blair converted. Barkley kicked one for Gloucester when the Blues were penalised for holding on in a tackle before Blair notched one back.
It was an evenly balanced match but Gloucester started to look threatening and soon got a try of their own. A long kick downfield saw the Blues in trouble when Molitika touched the ball down for a scrum 5. Gloucester spread the ball wide from second phase and full back Olly Morgan powered his way over in the corner. Barkley added the conversion.
The Blues were again under huge pressure on their tryline but an excellent Jamie Robinson tackle on Mike Tindall stopped the flow for a while. Andy Powell also put in a big hit on Barkley and the Blues were then awarded a scrum. However, The Gloucester pack showed their power shoving the Blues back off the ball before Narraway released Balshaw in the corner to score. Barkely was again accurate with the boot.
The Blues did have a good attacking opportunity when Andy Powell chipped through on the wing. Shanklin unfortunately couldnt gather and Gloucester were awarded a scrum in their twenty two.
They Blues didnt have to wait long for the next score. Halfpenny struck again with a fantastic opportunist try. Gloucester looked to spread the ball left and a flick pass fell into the lap of the young winger who sprinted in from the halfway line to touch down under the posts. Blair again converted keeping up his 100% strike rate.
A minute later the Blues struck again. Nick Robinson gathered an up and under and the Blues spread the ball from the ruck. Blair threw a great dummy and gained forty yards before passing on to Jamie Robinson. He didnt quite make the line but Gareth Thomas was on hand to touch down under the posts. Blair added the conversion to bring the score to 21-17.
Half Time Cardiff Blues 27 Gloucester 17
The Blues showed their intent in the second half coming out strong and looking to attack. Shanklin was unlucky not to hold onto a long Gloucester pass that would have seen nobody in front of him and the try-line.
However, it was Gloucester who got the next score. Tindall did well in mid-field to break the tackle and pass on to Vainakolo. He timed his pass to perfection putting in Barkley to score. Barkley converted.
Vainakolo had come on late in the first half and was proving to be a thorn in the side of the Blues with some powerful runs and Gloucester were again beginning to dominate territory.
Despite the domination, The Blues almost scored another superb try when Robinson put in a deft chip and gather. He then hacked on for Thomas to collect but the winger failed to gather and Jamie Roberts couldnt hold on when the try-line was just yards away. The Blues however did win the scrum back and looked to attack.
Andy Powell powered from the scrum and the ball came out from the ruck for Nick Robinson to force his way over under the posts for the fourth try for the home side. Blair converted again in what was a thrilling match.
Gloucester were dealt a blow a few minutes later when Hooker, Oliver Azam, was shown the yellow card in front of the posts and Blair slotted the penalty to extend the lead o 13 points with 10 minutes to go. And it would be a nail biting 10 minutes for the fans.
Despite going to the video ref for a Gloucester try the Blues managed to hold on for a famous bonus point victory in front of a record crowd.
Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair 14 Leigh Halfpenny 13 Jamie Robinson (77off) 12 Tom Shanklin (53off) 11 Gareth Thomas 10 Nicky Robinson 9 Jason Spice (67off) 8 Andy Powell 7 Martyn Williams (74off) 6 Maama Molitka 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Deiniol Jones 3 Gary Powell (53off) 2 T Rhys Thomas (56off) 1 Gethin Jenkins (76off) 16 Taufaao Filise 953on) 17 Gareth Williams (56on) 18 Scott Morgan (76on)19 Robin Sowden Taylor (74on) 20 Richie Rees (67on) 21 Ceri Sweeney (77on) 22 Jamie Roberts (53on)
Gloucester 15 Olly Morgan 14 Iain Balshaw 13 Mike Tindall (C) 12 Olly Barkley 11 James Simpson-Daniel 10 Ryan Lamb 9 Gareth Cooper 1 Alasdair Dickinson 2 Olivier Azam 3 Carlos Nieto 4 Marco Bortolami 5 Alex Brown 6 Peter Buxton 7 Alasdair Strokosch 8 Luke Narraway 16 Scott Lawson 17 Jack Forster 18 Adam Eustace 19 Andy Hazell 20 Rory Lawson 21 Willie Walker 22 Lesley Vainikolo
Tries Halfpenny x 2 G Thomas x 1 N Robinson x 1
Pens Blair x 2
Cons Blair x 4
Tries O Morgan x 1Balshaw x 1 Vainikolo x 1
Pens Barkley x 1
Cons Barkley x 3