Leinster 21 - 20 Cardiff Blues
Sat 10 January 19:30 RDS Arena Att: 14,470 Ref: Peter Allan Celtic League

Leinster 21 Cardiff Blues 20

Mon 12 Jan 2009 09:28 Leinster 21 Cardiff Blues 20
Leinster 21 Cardiff Blues 20
Saturday 13 January 7.30pm kick off RDS

A packed RDS saw last season’s champions Leinster take on the Cardiff Blues and it was the Blues who took an early lead through a Leigh Halfpenny penalty.

It was an even opening quarter with both sides trying to run the ball in the dry conditions and Contepomi equalised for the home team to level the scores also.

A huge Nicky Robinson up and under was gathered superbly by Girvan Dempsey, who did well to gain yards into the Blues half. However, Halfpenny shepherded the full back well before the covering defence came to snuff out the danger, and Robinson eventually cleared.

The Blues conceded a penalty on the half way line and back-chat cost them another 10 yards. Contepomi stepped up to slot anther one for Leinster, however Halfpenny kicked his second to level the scores again.

From the restart the Blues looked to attack and good carrying by Rhys Thomas and a break by Gareth Thomas saw them threaten the Leinster try-line. From the line out the Blues looked to spread it, before going back right, where a long Nick Robinson pass found Andy Powell who crashed over for the try. Halfpenny was unlucky hitting the upright with the conversion.

It was an entertaining match and Contepomi was again accurate with the boot when the Blues conceded a penalty. The Irish province wee looking dangerous and Rocky Elsom went on a rampaging run though the Cardiff Blues defence, all the way to the try-line, before eventually being stopped. Leinster then spread the ball left where only a good Gareth Thomas tackle stopped a home try just before half time.

Half time Leinster 9 Cardiff Blues 11

An early penalty in the Blues twenty-two saw Leinster regain the lead, and Halfpenny was unlucky with his effort minutes later.

The Blues were beginning to pick things up, working through the phases and releasing the ball quickly enabling them to move all the way up to the Leinster try-line. It was a great passage of play by the Blues and they eventually won a penalty that Halfpenny superbly converted. Another great effort minutes later by the young full back saw the Blues extend their lead to 17-12.

Contepomi struck one back for the home side and it would be another tense last 10 minutes for the Blues, with only a few points in it. Leinster threatened with Contepomi showing his class with ball in hand and the Irishmen worked their way to the Blues try-line. Solid Blues defence kept them out. However the danger wasn’t gone with Leinster still in the Blues half. Leinster eventually won a controversial penalty and Contepomi kept up his 100% record.

A last effort from the Blues saw them work up to the Leinster twenty-two and Robinson coolly slotted a drop goal to give the Blues a two point lead in the 80th minute.

However, there was time for the restart and the Blues were harshly awarded another penalty against them and predictably Contemponi slotted it. It was an agonising loss for the Blues who deserved the win.

Full time Leinster 21Cardiff Blues 20

Cardiff Blues 15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Tom James 13 Jamie Robinson (3off13on)12 Tom Shanklin (70off) 11 Gareth Thomas 10 Nick Robinson 9 Jason Spice (63off) 8 Andy Powell (60off) 7 Robin Sowden Taylor 6 Maama Molitika 5 Paul Tito 4 Bradley Davies 3 Taufa’au Filise 2 T Rhys Thomas (60off) 1 John Yapp (63off) 16 Gethin Jenkins (63on) 17 Gareth Williams (60on) 18 Scott Morgan 19 Xavier Rush (60on) 20 Richie Rees (63on) 21 Ceri Sweeney 22 Jamie Roberts (3on13off 70on)

Cardiff Blues
Tries Powell x 1
Pens Halfpenny x 4
DG Robinson x 1

Pens Contepomi x 7