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Bourgoin 5 Cardiff Blues 13

22nd October 2006

Cardiff Blues record a famous first victory in France.

A late change of shirts meant that Bourgoin would be playing in Burgundy and kicked off the first Heineken Cup match of the season for the Blues. A shaky start saw the Blues miss touch twice and Bourgoin attack before Chris Czekaj cleared up-field. However, Cardiff Blues were awarded a penalty when Bourgoin failed to release in a tackle and Ben Blair stepped up from 40 yards out and struck a clean penalty to give Cardiff the lead. After good work from Mark Lewis stealing the ball Martyn Williams put a neat little chip kick through in to the Bourgoin 22, Tom Shanklin beat his man for pace but a cruel bounce prevented what would have been a certain try. Moments later Nicky Robinson broke straight through the defence and had Stcherbina on his shoulder but his pass was intercepted to prevent another certain try.

A strong run from Mike Philips had Bourgoin in trouble and he was held up 5 metres short, when the ball was recycled neat work by Martyn Williams and Stcherbina nearly saw the Australian centre break through. The Blues were doing a good job also soaking up pressure with Rob Sidloli stealing lineout ball and Nicky Robinson clearing 60 yards upfield. All through the half Bourgoin were driving with players in front of the ball which caused problems for the Blues and when the maul was taken down Bourgoin were awarded another penalty that Boyet once again missed.

The Blues battled on and worked through the phases inside the Bourgoin 22, when the ball eventually worked it’s way to the right Chris Czekaj appeared to knock the ball on just as he crossed the try line which was confirmed by the video ref. However they soon got a score, when minutes later a lovely break by Ben Blair side stepping through the Borgouin defence put Luveitasau in the clear with no one if front of him and the tryline. The Finjian winger was held back by Salesi Finau in what appeared a yellow card offence but referee Chris White awarded a penalty that Blair converted just before the break.


Cardiff Blues looked dangerous at the start of the second half with Chris Czekaj breaking down the left and once again a try scoring pass was intercepted when he had Blair inside him. Moments earlier Finnau had put in a big hit on Blair with overlap outside him.

Bourgoin were slowly working their way forward with driving mauls but their play lacked imagination and the Blues defended solidly. The Blues were putting themselves under pressure but excellent recovery work from Nicky Robinson clearing the ball up-field allowed the Blues to play in the opposition half.

A quick break by Mike Phillips saw the Blues up to the Bourgoin 22 but they failed to take advantage of field position and Bourgoin drive up-field again and absorb pressure. A charge down could have led to a Bourgoin try but luckily Bourgoin knocked on. Nicky Robinson slipped on the clearance from the Scrum v and Finau charged up field. The ball popped out of the ruck for Martyn Williams to hack through. Stcherbina chased upfield missed his chip through that deceived the defence and popped the ball up for Martyn Williams to score under the posts. Blair converted to bring the score to 0-13 after 68 minutes.

Bourgoin were awarded a penalty and went for the line out in the corner. Some close work by the big Bourgoin forwards saw them drive for the line. The home crowd seemed to think they had scored but once again the video ref didn’t award the try. The Blues failed to clear from the Scrum and Bourgoin used the same tactic of driving around the fringes of the rucks before eventually Brice Monzeglio scored in the corner. Laloo missed the crucial conversion with only 3 minutes of normal time left and the score 5-13.
The Blues defended solidly and hung on to the lead for a famous first victory in France.

Cardiff Blues 15. Ben Blair 14. Chris Czekaj 13. Tom Shanklin 12. Marc Stcherbina
11. Mosese Luvietasau 10. Nicky Robinson 9. Mike Phllips 8. Mark Lewis 7. Martyn Williams © 6. Scott Morgan 5. Robert Sidoli 4. Deiniol Jones 3. Gary Powell 2. Rhys Thomas 1. Gethin Jenkins Replacements 16. Taufaao Filise 17. Gareth Williams 18. Bradley Davies 19. Ben White 20. Ed Fairhurst 21. Nick Macleod 22. Jamie Robinson