A Cardiff Blues record crowd of over 26,000 turned up at the Millennium Stadium to see the Blues take on the Leicester Tigers.
Early on, Mike Phillips took a quick penalty and put pressure on Leicester, breaking in to Leicester 22 followed by good work by Chris Czekaj and Tom Shanklin on the left wing. The break through came after nine minutes when the ball came through the middle for Nick Robinson to chip over the Leicester defence and beat his man to the ball to touch down under the posts. Ben Blair added the conversion.
A mix up from the base of the scrum in the Blues half saw Harry Ellis kick through for Leicester, Mike Phillips was back in defence but from the ruck Ollie Smith stepped inside his man to cross for a try. Goode converted to level the scores.
Another mix up by the Blues saw Leicester chip through again, they failed to clear and Andy Goode put in an inch perfect cross kick for Vardnell to clasp on to and score in the corner with Goode just missing the conversion. Goode made up for his miss by kicking a penalty but excellent work by Nicky Robinson and Tom Shanklin ensured that it was the Blues who got the next score. Shanklin broke down the left drew in two men and released Czekaj outside him to score unopposed. Blair converted again to put the scores at 14-15.
HALF TIME CARDIFF BLUES 14 LEICESTER TIGERS 15
Leicester were awarded a penalty early on in the second half and extended their lead and the Blues were dealt another blow when Gary Powell was awarded a red card after head butting George Chutter. Taufaao Fiilise came on as a front row replacement with Mosese Luveitasau going off. Leicesters used the strnght of their forwards and were encamped in the Blues twenty two for a long period of time, but the Blues managed to keep them out before clearing. Varndell was then awarded a yellow card to even up the numbers and the Blues fought in to the Leicester half.
An excellent cross kick from Robinson saw Shanklin sprint up the wing and skilfully keep the ball in play to keep pressure on Leicester. The Blues won the line out and direct running from Nicky Robinson ensured they moved forward however as the ball went wide it was turned over but the Blues were awarded a penalty that Blair converted to bring them within a point of the Tigers. It was a nail biting finish with 5 minutes left, the Blues one point behind and with Varndell back on the pitch they were also a man short.
Nick Robinson kicked a penalty to the corner of the Leicester half and the ball was won cleanly from the line out. The Blues drove forward but knocked the ball on when they were just yards short. Leicester failed to clear from the scrum and were driven in to touch, but Leicester stole the lineout ball and this time managed to clear. They managed to drive the Blues back to their own half and neat work by Goode saw the Leicester outside half beat his man and drop a goal to secure a 17-21 win for the Tigers.
CARDIFF BLUES 15. Ben Blair 14. Mosese Luveitasau 13. Tom Shanklin 12. Marc Stcherbina 11. Chris Czekaj 10. Nicky Robinson 9. Mike Phillips 8. Mark Lewis 7. Martyn Williams (C) 6. Scott Morgan 5. Robert Sidoli 4. Deiniol Jones 3. Gary Powell 2. T. Rhys Thomas 1. Gethin Jenkins Replacements 16. Taufaao Filise 17. Gareth Williams 18. Bradley Davies 19. Xavier Rush 20. Ed Fairhurst 21. Jamie Robinson 22. Nick Macleod
LEICESTER TIGERS 15 Sam Vesty 14 Geordan Murphy 13 Ollie Smith 12 Daryl Gibson 11 Tom Varndell 10 Andy Goode 9 Harry Ellis 8 Martin Corry (capt) 7 Lewis Moody 6 Louis Deacon 5 Ben Kay 4 James Hamilton 3 Julian White 2 George Chuter
1 Martin Castrogiovanni Replacements 16 James Buckland 17 Marcos Ayerza 18 Brett Deacon 19 Shane Jennings 20 Scott Bemand 21 Paul Burke 22 Seru Rabeni