Cardiff Blues made Leinster battle hard for the victory despite Leo Cullen’s side dominating possession for most of the match. The Irish men gave away a number penalties allowing Patchell to kick three penalties in the first half of the game. Patchell showed the power of his boot by kicking two penalties from within the Cardiff Blues half.
In a competitive opening, Leinster were penalised for collapsing the scrum, which was a recurring issue for the Leinster men throughout the match. Knowing that it would be important to take the points and secure an early lead for the visitors Cardiff Blues chose to go for the posts resulting in 0-3 to Cardiff Blues.
It looked like the lead would not last long when Cardiff Blues Owen Jenkins was penalised for not rolling away and Nacewa looked to draw the sides level. Nacewa’s kick came off the posts into the arms of Rhys Patchell who cleared the danger for Cardiff Blues. From the clearance Leinster were disciplined at the breakdown and Patchell went for the kick, doubling the Cardiff Blues lead 0-6.
After a number of phases Leinster got another chance to get on to the scoreboard when Cardiff Blues were penalised for a high tackle and Nacewa made no mistake - 3-6.
From the restart from Patchell Leinster had a scrum on the halfway. Destructive ball carrying from Te’o saw the Irish men drive in the visitor’s 22. After a few quick phases, the Leinster men seemed to have scored. It was a nervous wait while the referee went to the TMO to see if Leinster had scored their first try of the season. To the crowds cheers it was confirmed that Jack Conan went over helping the home side take the lead. Nacewa added the extras to put Leinster into the lead for the first time -10-6.
Following a period of Leinster dominated possession, Cardiff Blues defence held strong. However, Owen Jenkins was left isolated and Leinster were awarded a penalty. Nacewa kicked for the posts but failed to hit the target.
Before the end of the first half another incredible kick from Patchell, 50 metres out, kept the game to only a point’s difference -10-9.
The second half followed a similar pattern, as Leinster could not convert possession into point. Cardiff Blues and Leinster matched penalties, keeping the game to one point in it.
Cardiff Blues soaked up the Leinster pressure and continued to dominate in the scrum. Once again Patchell was given the chance to put the visitors into the lead -13-15.
With just under 20 minutes left, a Rhys Patchell kick went over the dead ball line giving Leinster a scrum inside the visitor’s half. The Irish men won the penalty and Nacewa looked to put the home side back into the lead. No mistake from Nacewa as he slotted the ball between the posts - 16-15.
With ten minutes left, it looked as if Leinster had broken through the Cardiff Blues strong defence as the crowd cranked up the noise, but excellent play by replacement Ellis Jenkins prevented Byrne from crossing the whitewash.
Three energy-sapping scrums on the Cardiff Blues five-metre line led to a penalty, which resulted in Josh Navidi being sent to the bin for coming in from the side.
There was no let-up in the pressure from the home side and eventually a penalty try was awarded to the Irish men. Nacewa added the extra to claim the victory – 23- 15.
In the final minute, the Cardiff Blues stole the ball at the lineout. With the clock turning red, they looked for one last opportunity to finish with a losing bonus point. Patchell attempted a drop goal from distance but the kick fell short and the final whistle was blown.
03m Patchell p 0-3
07m Patchell p 0-6
13m Nacewa p 3-6
16m Conan t Nacewa c p 10-6
33m Patchell p 10-9
46m Nacewa p 13-9
51m Patchell p 13-12
56m Patchell p 13-15
66m Nacewa p 16-15
76m Leinster Penatly Try Nacewa c 23-15
Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Owen Jenkins, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Tavis Knoyle (Lewis 70); 1 Sam Hobbs (Davies 68), 2 Kristian Dacey, 3 Craig Mitchell (Andrews 68), 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 James Down (Reed 66), 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 Josh Navidi (c), 8 Manoa Vosawai (Jenkins 40)
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Garyn Smith