Cardiff Blues 16 - 16 Leinster
Sat 06 September 18:30 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 8,017 Ref: Andy Macpherson Celtic League

Cardiff Blues 16 Leinster 16

Sat 6 Sep 2008 11:40 Cardiff Blues 16 Leinster 16
The Blues did well early on driving forward after winning clean ball at the line out. They looked lively in attack and used Jamie Roberts to good effect in the centre. However, frustratingly the ball was being spilled in contact.  There was also some careless passing not going to hand and the Blues were putting pressure on themselves.

Leinster were awarded a penalty in the 10th minute that Felipe Contepomi converted to give the visitors the lead.

The next move for the home side was an excellent one. Molitika, with great skill, took the ball into contact and slipped it away to Roberts who did well take it forward and work the ball out to Gethin Jenkins who nearly scored in corner. The ball emerged from the ruck and Nicky Robinson threw a huge long pass out to Martyn Williams. As Williams used the overlap the ball was clearly and deliberately knocked on by Kearney. However, the referee only awarded a penalty and the Blues failed to capitalise.

Molitika was outstanding in the loose charging forward and finding gaps in the Leinster defence. Blair had the chance to level the score in the 18th minute but hooked his penalty to the left.

It was an entertaining match and O’Driscoll showed his brilliance throwing a dummy and leaving the Blues midfield for dead. However, Blair put in a solid tackle and pulled the Irish and Lions star down. One of the Blues’ own Lions, Martyn Williams, emerged from the ruck with the ball and put in a long hack ahead which gave Nicky Robinson a foot race for the ball into the goal area against three Leinstermen. He failed to win the race but did well to drive the recovering defender back over the try line before Leinster cleared.

From the lineout the Blues worked their way under the posts. They were awarded a scrum and great work from the forwards saw the ball come out to the right, where Ben Blair sprinted over to touch down in the corner. Blair also added the extra points for the conversion from a difficult angle.

When the Blues did click they looked dangerous with Andy Powell using his power joining the line and stretching the Leinster defence over a number of phases. 
However, they were a bit too casual in defence putting pressure on themselves instead of clearing the ball up-field. The Blues had the final word of the half when Robinson, playing in his 100th game for the team, stuck a drop goal to give the Blues a 7-point half time lead.

Half Time: Cardiff Blues 10 Leinster 3

The Blues started the second half strongly gaining territory into the Leinster twenty two, however following a penalty Ben Blair struck wide, within minutes Contepomi was accurate with his 3 point attempt.

The Blues had an excellent spell in the twenty two but passes weren’t going to hand and the build up was slow. Robinson however managed to slot another drop goal to put the lead back to 7 points.

Leinster were counter-attacking well through both Horgan and O’Driscoll and soon closed the gap again through another Contepomi penalty.

Again the Blues looked to attack and worked the ball well into striking distance of the Leinster try line but failed to get the clinical pass away.

It was Leinster who got the break through when an up and under bounced off Richard Mustoe into the hands of Malcolm O’Kelly. He did well to pass out to new recruit Isa Nacewa who sprinted in for the try on his full debut. Contepomi converted to give Leinster the lead, 16-13. It was set for a tense finale.

Blair however levelled within a minute with a long-range effort from the half way line after Leinster were caught offside.

Later on Andy Powell charged down a Leinster kick and Nacewa scrambled to clear off his own try line. The Blues looked to attack but once again, a frustrating knock on ruined the chance when only yards out. Leisnter were doing their best to run down the clock with substitutions and only five minutes remaining

It was a dramatic ending with Kearney slicing a drop goal late on and Nacewa knocking the ball forward from the Blues drop out. Cardiff Blues looked to work the phases and move the ball up-field for the decisive score, but the clock was the winner, as the game ended in a disappointing 16 all draw.

Try  Pen  Con  DG
Cardiff Blues  Blair x 1  Blair x 1  Blair x 1  N Robinson x 2

Try  Pen  Con
Leinster   Nacewa x1  Contepomi x 3 Contepomi x 1

15 Ben Blair 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Tom Shankin 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Chris Czekaj 10 Nicky Robinson 9 Jason Spice (62off) 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Gareth Williams (57off)  3 Taufa’ao Filise (57off)  4 Bradley Davies 5 Paul Tito (c) (70off) 6 Mamma Molitika 8 Andy Powell 7 Martyn Williams 16 Gary Powell (57on) 17 T. Rhys Thomas (57on) 18 Scott Morgan (70on) 19 Ben White 20 Darren Allinson (62on)  21 Ceri Sweeney 22 Jamie Robinson

Referee Andy Macpherson, (SRU)
Touch Judges David Bodilly, Jon Mason, TMO Tony Rowlands

Attendance 8,017