Gloucester Rugby 25 - 26 Cardiff Blues
Sun 08 November 15:00 Kingsholm Att: 6,099 Ref: Rob Debney Anglo Welsh Cup

Gloucester Rugby 25 Cardiff Blues 26

Sun 8 Nov 2009 16:47 Gloucester Rugby 25 Cardiff Blues 26
Ceri Sweeney kicked off proceedings, with the Blues attacking Gloucester in their own half instantly, maintaining possession and pressurising the home team into giving away a penalty in the openings minutes. Sweeney successfully converting from just beyond the 22.

A charge down by Czekaj saw the Blues back within 5 metres of the Gloucester line almost straight away however they lost possession and Gloucester sent the ball into touch, the Blues winning their first line out.

Nicky Robinson’s neat chip to touch put Gloucester on the Blues 22, but the Blues won the lineout and were back into the Gloucester half, however the home side gained the ball, seeing their first real possession but they were soon penalised for holding on, Sam Norton Knight opting to kick to the corner.

A powerful looking Xavier Rush continued the Blues attack but a fumble by full-back Norton Knight meant a scrum on the halfway line, Gloucester won the scrum and captain Gareth Delve and prop Greg Somerville put the Blues in trouble in defence.

Another scrum followed and great work by the home back row, runs by the centres and a neat pass by Nicky Robinson increased the pressure, forcing a penalty in front of the posts that Robsinson found no problems with.

After the restart the Blues quickly lost possession and a run by Freddie Burns looked certain to end with a try, but he chipped the ball into touch. The Blues won the resulting lineout but great work by Gloucester back row man Adam Eustace meant a try in the corner for the home side, Robinson failed with the conversion.

Further prowess by the Gloucester forwards especially the back row meant a second home try was soon to follow with captain Gareth Delve going over in the opposite corner. Burns pushed the conversion wide as Nicky Robinson left the field injured.

A shift in the momentum saw the game open up with a further line out in the Blues half, Gloucester won the ball and continued to threaten. The Blues defence however reacted well and big tackles from Gareth Thomas meant the Blues regained possession, Sam Norton Knight’s up field kick was fumbled by Burns and the Blues won the scrum but possession was soon given up again.

Play was soon back in the home sides half though with a lineout on their 22, the Blues won possession and a powerful run up the pitch saw captain Rush cross between the posts. Sweeney converted.

A Richie Rees sprint up the touch line and a great off load to blindside Ben White put the game back in Blues control and a resulting penalty successfully taken by Sweeney drew the Blues level with the home side.

Blues pressure was now sustained and much like the opening minutes all of the rugby was played within the Gloucester half and an infringement at the ruck meant the loss of Strokosch to the bin. The Blues could not convert the penalty awarded though and the score remained level.

The 14 man Gloucester piled the pressure onto the Blues defence though and following some great runs by veteran Spencer, were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, fullback Burns making up for his earlier miss with a score on his first start for the side.

However the youngster was treated to a crunching tackle by Mustoe following the restart and more infringements at the lineout resulted in a scrum with more back row prowess from Rush resulting in the Blues pressurising Gloucester but the visiting side failed to capitalise on the player in the bin. Gloucester maintaining their narrow lead.

Half Time Score
Gloucester Rugby 16 Cardiff Blues 13

The second half started in much the same way as the first half had ended with sustained attack by the Blues in the Gloucester 22, but changes by both sides saw Gloucester dominate and force the Blues back into their own half. Burns added another penalty on his debut extending the lead.

The Blues soon hit back with another penalty successfully taken by Ceri Sweeney but found themselves back in their own half unable to achieve the go forward they’d earlier enjoyed, however Gloucester indiscipline meant another penalty with Norton Knight kicking downfield.

The Blues now kept possession and a neat kick through by Sweeney was gathered by Gareth Thomas, only to be brought down metres from the try line. Great work from the scrum by Rush put Norton Knight through for his first try for the club.

Sweeney converting again taking the visitors into the lead for the first time since the opening minutes.

Play soon switched back into the Gloucester half and they looked sure to score again had it not been for a tackle by Sweeney, the ball now launched up field was picked up by Burns only to be brought down by Gareth Thomas. Another penalty was now awarded to the Blues but Sweeney was unsuccessful on this occasion.

Both teams now tried to attack with some great defensive tackles made by Sweeney making up for his recently missed penalty. Gloucester however were awarded a penalty and drew within one point as Gavin Evans left the field to be replaced by Dafydd James.

The youngster Navidi, in only his second appearance for the Blues, put in a tackle on Carlos Spencer after a threatening run from the full back position by the All Black. A penalty then came for holding on, followed then by another penalty against the Blues for collapsing the scrum, Spencer converted extending the home side’s narrow lead.

However the Blues soon fought back, Norton Knight kicking the ball to touch within metres of the try line, the Blues pushed on and were unlucky not to go over but a scrum saw the Blues battle through again coming ever closer. The referee penalised the Blues for holding on though and another scrum was formed. The Blues continued to attack aggressively and it looked as if the lead would be regained when Filise crossed only for the referee to call the players back for a penalty.

As the game was in it's dying minutes though the Blues were awarded a penalty and Ceri Sweeney became the hero of the day, scoring and sealing the win. The Blues defense of their Anglo-Welsh crown continues against London Irish on Sunday 15th November.

Gloucester Rugby:
15. Burns (off 60) 14. Simpson-Daniel (off 56) 13. Trinder 12. Molenaar 11. Vainikolo 10 Robinson (off 19)
9. R Lawson 1. Doran-Jones 2. S Lawson 3. Somerville 4. James 5. Attwood
6. Strokosch (off 41) 7. Qera 8. Delve (capt)

16. Dawiduik 17. Thomas 18. Capdevielle 19. Satala (on for Burns 60) 20. Qera (on for Strockosch 41) 21. Pasqualin
22. Spencer (on for Robinson 19) 23. May ( on for Simpson-Daniel 56)

Cardiff Blues:
15 Sam Norton-Knight 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Gareth Thomas 12 Gavin Evans ( off 66) 11 Chris Czekaj 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Richie Rees??1 Darren Morris ( off 43) 2 Rhys Williams 3 Taufa'au Filise 4 Deiniol Jones 5 Scott Morgan 6 Ben White 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor (off 48) 8 Xavier Rush (c)

16 Rhys James 17 Scott Andrews18 Sam Hobbs ( on for Morris 43) 19 James Down 20 Josh Navidi ( on for Sowden-Taylor 48) 21 Darren Allinson 22 Dafydd James (on for Evans 66) 23 Dai Flanagan

Gloucester Rugby
Try Eustace 15 Delve 17
Pen Robinson , Burns x2, Spencer

Cardiff Blues
Try Rush 27 Norton Knight 57
Con Sweeney x3
Pen Sweeney x2

Referee: Rob Debney