Cardiff Blues 34 Sale Sharks 19
Cardiff City Stadium, Saturday 16 January 2010, 3.45pm kick off
The Blues got off to a strong start driving forward towards the Sharks try-line before being awarded a penalty for offside that Blair converted.
However, the Sharks were first to cross the try-line with the ball popping out on a Blues scrum 5 metres out, and Sisa Koyamibole picking up the loose ball and powering over.
Despite the rain falling both sides were looking to run the ball, but the Blues got their next points through the right boot of Ben Blair, who again struck a clean penalty.
Richie Rees was as lively as ever and a neat chip through put pressure on Cohen who shipped the ball on to Macleod who did well to clear.
Leigh Halfpenny extended the Blues lead with a long range effort just inside the Sharks half. The Blues were awarded another penalty minutes later, following a good drive from the forwards; that this time Blair slotted.
Rees again was proving a handful breaking down the blindside, beating Peel, and slipping the ball to Rush who moved it on to Powell who just couldn’t hold on in what was a promising move.
Cardiff Blues 12 Sale Sharks 5
The Blues again started strongly with the forwards driving well before the ball was eventually spread the ball right, where Leigh Halfpenny showed his pace and came to within 5 yards of the try-line. From the ruck Rees picked up and went blind, diving over for the try. Blair converted from the touchline.
The Blues struck again minutes later with the forwards carrying strongly as the spread the ball right. Filise did well to force his way forward and popped the ball to Bradley Davies who had the power to force his way over the line. Blair again converted.
Instantly Sale struck back when the Blues appeared to be sleeping. From the restart the ball bounced kindly for Sale and Tait had a free run in with Hodgson converting. Blair slotted another penalty to bring the score to 29-12 and things were looking good for the Blues with 25 minutes left.
The Blues were awarded a scrum on the Sale try-line and were boosted further when Halsall was sent to the bin. However, the Blues disappointingly failed to capitalize on the man advantage in the scrum and Sale managed to clear. It was the visitors who finished stronger with Cueto making a break into the Blues twenty two. They eventually recycled the ball and spread it wide where Gaskell ploughed over in the corner and Hodgson converted .
The Blues got the final score when Rush converted to sprint in and Blair converted for the final score of the afternoon.
Cardiff Blues 15 Ben Blair 14 Leigh Halfpenny 13 Casey Laulala 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney76 off 9 Richie Rees 72off
8 Xavier Rush 7 Martyn Williams 6 Andy Powell 5 Deiniol Jones 56 off 4 Bradley Davies 3 Taufau Filise 65off 2 Gareth Williams 70off 1 Gethin Jenkins (c)
16 T Rhys Thomas 70on 17 Sam Hobbs 18 Gary Powell 65 on 19 Paul Tito 56 on 20 Ben White 21 Gareth Cooper 72on 22 Sam Norton Knight 76on 23 Tom Shanklin
Sale Sharks 15 Nick Macleod 14 Mark Cueto 13 Mathew Tait 12 Lee Thomas 11 Ben Cohen 10 Charlie Hodgson 9 Dwayne Peel
8 Sisa Koyamaibole 7 David Seymour 6 Carl Fearns 5 James Gaskell
4 Dean Schofield 3 Martin Halsall 2 Neil Briggs 1 Eifion Roberts
16 Marc Jones 17 Gavin Kerr 18 Rob O’Donnell 19 Chris Jones 20 Luke Abraham 21 Richard Wigglesworth 22 Jonny Kennedy 23 Chris Bell.
Referee - Romain Polite
Touch Judges - Cedric Marchat & Stephane Boyer
TMO - Jean-Christophe Gastou
Yellow card: Martyn Williams
Try Rees x 1 Davies x 1 Rush x 1
Penalty – Blair x 4 Halfpenny x 1
Con – Blair x 3
Try Koyamaibole x 1 Tait x 1 Gaskell x 1
Con Hodgson x 2