Leinster 34 Cardiff Blues 3
Saturday 7 April 5.45pm kick off
In a week that was dominated by talk of dismissal and injury, it was good to finally focus on a huge match for the Cardiff Blues as they took on Leinster in the quarter final of the Heineken Cup. There was a great atmosphere at the ground with a near capacity crowd at the Aviva and a vocal Leinster support, but a small and passionate contingent of Blues fans in pink were cheering on their team.
The Blues won and early penalty for not releasing 45 yards out and Halfpenny got points on the scoreboard, before Sexton levelled with and equally well taken effort. Despite the Blues looking comfortable early on there then followed a period of pressure from the Irish province which the Blues never got over and resulted in the first try of the day.
Sexton attacked from just inside the Blues half and threw a dummy that took out James, before feeding Kearney who timed his pass to Nacewa well for the Fijian international to score. Sexton converted and added a further penalty to extend their lead.
It wasn’t long before Leinster got their second. D’Arcy and Reddan combined well to come within yards of the Blues try line before the ball was recycled and Rob Kearney sprinted through the defence to score under the posts. Sexton again converted to put the score at 20-3 with 30 minutes gone.
The next try came from first phase with a training pitch move. Leinster won the lineout and Sexton passed inside to Fitzgerald who timed his pass to O’Driscoll perfectly to score under the posts. Sexton kept up his 100% conversion rate to bring the score at the break to 27-3.
Half time Leinster 27 Cardiff Blues 3
The second half started with the Blues attacking well in the Leinster twenty two, however they were turned over and Sexton cleared. Within minutes Leinster had scored their fourth. On the right Kearney and O’Driscoll showed quick hands to put Nacewa in some space. The ball was moved back inside for Kearney to score his second. Sexton again added the extras.
Michael Paterson was a shining light for the Blues, trying to lead the way with some strong attack and solid defence. Despite his best efforts the Blues attack looked laboured although they came within five yards of the try-line the ball wasn’t straight in the lineout and again Leinster cleared.
The Blues did at least spend periods in the Leinster twenty two but they were failing to break down the defence and the ball was always slow. Their best chance came out on the left when Laulala slipped a pass to Hewitt who came within yards. Williams picked up from the ruck and as he dived over the try-line Heaslip managed to knock the ball out of his hand. It was that kind of afternoon for the Blues who knew their Heineken Cup campaign was over for another season.
Cardiff Blues 15. Leigh Halfpenny 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Casey Laulala 12. Dafydd Hewitt 11. Tom James 10. Dan Parks (68off) 9. Lloyd Williams (68off)
8. Xavier Rush (c) 7. Martyn Williams 6. Michael Paterson 5. James Down (60off) 4. Bradley Davies 3. Scott Andrews 2. Marc Breeze 1. Gethin Jenkins
16. Kristian Dacey 17. John Yapp 18. Sam Hobbs 19. Macauley Cook 20. Maama Molitika (60on) 21. Richie Rees (68on) 22. Ceri Sweeney (68on) 23. Gavin Evans
Leinster Rugby15 Rob Kearney14 Isa Nacewa13 Brian O'Driscoll12 Gordon D'Arcy11 Luke Fitzgerald10 Johnny Sexton 9 Eoin Reddan
1 Cian Healy 2 Richardt Strauss 3 Mike Ross 4 Leo Cullen (capt) 5 Brad Thorn 6 Kevin McLaughlin 7 Sean O'Brien 8 Jamie Heaslip
16 Sean Cronin17 Heinke Van der Merwe18 Nathan White19 Devin Toner 20 Shane Jennings 21 Isaac Boss 22 Ian Madigan 23 Fergus McFadden
Pen Halfpenny x 1
Tries Nacewa x 1 Kearney x 2 O’Driscoll x 1
Pen Sexton x 2
Con Sexton x 4
Yellow Card: Tom James