Cardiff Blues v Stade Toulousain
Saturday 11 April 3.30pm kick off Heineken Cup, Millennium Stadium
A record Welsh attendance of 36,728 turned up on a sunny Easter Saturday to watch the much-anticipated Heineken Cup encounter between Cardiff Blues and Toulouse.
Nicky Robinson kicked off the big match and the Blues had the perfect start with an early penalty giving them the lead. From forty yards out Ben Blair struck a penalty between the posts. However, Michalak soon struck one back with his own forty-yard effort to level up the scores at 3 3.
The early encounters didnt see either side make much headway but Leigh Halfpenny came close with a penalty effort from the halfway line which just drifted wide.
A scrum five yards out saw New Zealand scrum half Byron Kelleher pick up and force his way into fellow Kiwis, Rush and Spice who seemed to have stopped him crossing the line. The decision was referred to the video ref, who awarded a knock on against Toulouse, much to the delight of the home crowd.
The Blues were under pressure in their own twenty two but some big hits saw them drive Toulouse back and eventually clear.
Ben Blair had the chance to retake the lead for the Blues on 30 minutes but his long-range effort didnt quite have the direction. However, he made up for it with his next attempt just a minute later. Leaving Cardiff Blues with a small advantage going into half time
Half time: Cardiff Blues 6 Toulouse 3
The second half started with Toulouse again looking threatening but some valiant defence from the Cardiff Blues stopped the French giants adding to the score.
With errors creeping into the Toulouse game, Maedar dropped a high ball and the crowd were beginning to get behind the home team.
The Blues were starting to play like Frenchmen, throwing the ball around and Tom James and Nick Robinson breaking superbly from their own half. Eventually they were awarded a penalty and again Blair showed his cool nerves and slotted the goal to bring the score to 9-3.
The lead had given the Blues confidence and a lovely off load by Robinson put Jamie Roberts in the gap and when the ball came back Robinson struck a drop goal only to see it bounce off the upright.
Toulouse however struck back following a good break and substitute Skrela struck a penalty and were starting to look threatening with Skrela also breaking well. The Blues had brought on Andy Powell for Molitika and the big Brecon lad make an impact from the base of the scrum picking and driving well
There was five minutes left on the clock and only three points in it Toulouse floated a long pass out where there appeared to be an overlap, a superb tackle by halfpenny saw Toulouse knock the ball on. However from the scrum the Blues were penalised for crossing ensuring a tense last two minutes. However the Blues held on and when Toulouse knocked on that was the game.
Full time: Cardiff Blues 9 Toulouse 6
Cardiff Blues Team
15 Ben Blair 14 Leigh Halfpenny 13 Tom Shanklin Jamie Roberts 11 Tom James 10 Nicky Robinson 9 Jason Spice 8 Xavier Rush 7 Martyn Williams 6 Maama Molitika (65off) 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Bradley Davies (60) 3 Taufaao Filise (70off) 2 Gareth Williams 1 Gethin Jenkins
16 John Yapp (70on) 17 T Rhys Thomas 18 Deiniol Jones (60on) 19 Andy Powell (65on) 20 Richie Rees 21 Ceri Sweeney 22 Gareth Thomas
Penalties Blair x 3
Penalties Michalak x 1 Skrela x 1