Cardiff Blues v Calvisano Rugby
Friday 23 January 2009, Heineken Cup
A crowd of over 11,00 saw the Cardiff Blues start brightly with some rampaging runs by Andy Powell and with Nicky Robinson kicking intelligently keeping Calvisano pinned back in their own half. However, it was Calvisano who had the breakthrough when a Nicky Robison clearance was charged down by Patelli and Garcia won the foot race to touch the ball down, completely against the run of play. Fraser converted.
The Blues soon struck back when Shanklin fed Gareth Thomas on the left wing. The former Wales Captain had the pace, power and vision to crash over the line for the score.
Fraser struck a penalty for the visitors to extend their lead but the next score was for the Blues. A clearance kick was collected by Gareth Thomas who passed on to Halfpenny. The Welsh winger went on a run down the right and fed Blair out of the tackle for him to touch down to level the scores. Blair converted to give the Blues the lead for the first time in the match. He extended it further with a penalty minutes later.
Halfpenny touched down next following some slick handling in the backs. The Blues won a scrum on the left in the Calvisano twenty-two. Roberts carried well in midfield to set up the ruck and a long pass out from Robinson found Blair who fed Halfpenny. Blair converted to bring the scores to 22-10.
Half time Cardiff Blues 22 Rugby Calvisano 10
The Blues got the first try of the second half and their fourth of the match to secure their try bonus point. Xavier Rush who had come onto the field in place of Andy Powell made an immediate impact. The Blues won a scrum on the edge of the Calvisano twenty-two and the Kiwi number 8 picked up from the base, threw a dummy and charged over for the try. Blair converted.
The next try came after some good chasing by Shanklin put pressure on the Calvisano full back. The Blues turned the ball over and neat chip was gathered by Gareth Thomas who fed Rhys Thomas who crashed over.
Calvisano scored the next minutes later with a great effort. Fraser intercepted inside his own twenty-two but good chasing by Roberts stopped him short, however, Fraser still managed to get the ball away to Pratichetti to touch down.
Rhys Thomas doubled his try tally following a rampaging run by Bradley Davies. The ruck was set up on the try-line and the Welsh hooker forced his way over with Blair converting. Martyn Williams joined the party soon after scoring in the corner and with Blairs conversion it took the Blues to 50 points.
Maama Molitika got the next with a great effort, picking up a loose ball from the line out and sprinting in from the half-way line, before Gareth Thomas got his second and the Blues ninth try of the night.
Final Score Cardiff Blues 62 Rugby Calvisano 20
Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair 14 Leigh Halfpenny 13 Tom Shanklin (56off) 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Gareth Thomas 10 Nicky Robinson (56off) 9 Jason Spice (69off) 1 Gethin Jenkins 2 Gareth Williams (47off) 3 Gary Powell (52off) 4 Deiniol Jones (47off) 5 Scott Morgan 6 Maama Molitika 7 Martyn Williams (Capt) 8 Andy Powell (40off) Replacements 16 John Yapp (52on) 17 T Rhys Thomas (47on) 18 Bradley Davies (47on) 19 Xavier Rush (40on) 20 Darren Allinson (69on) 21 Ceri Sweeney (56on) 22 Jamie Robinson (56on)
Tries G Thomas x 2 Blair x 1 Halfpenny x 1 Rush x 1 T Rhys Thomas x 2 Molitika x 1 M Williams x 1
Pens Blair x 1
Cons Blair x 7
Tries Garcia x 1 Pratichetti x 1
Pens Fraser x 2
Cons Fraser x 2
Yellow Card - Bocca
Attendance - 11,203