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Cardiff Blues 23 Harlequins 12

11th January 2008

Blues go top of Pool 3.

Cardiff Blues 23 Harlequins 12
Friday, 11 January, 8.00pm kick off at Cardiff Arms Park. Heineken Cup

Cardiff Blues came a step closer to qualifying from their Heineken Cup group with a 23-12 win over Harlequins that keeps them in pole position.

After three pitch inspections the rain stopped and the game kicked off.

A great start by the Blues saw them really pushing forward in the corner and winning a penalty. They kicked for a line out then drove and spread but were penalised for crossing.

There was some high tempo running from their own twenty two by both sides.

The Blues stole a line out and Alfie made a great break out of his twenty two. Great hands by Jamie Roberts and Tom Shanklin continued the move.

Driving forward, Gethin Jenkins took the Blues to within yards of the try-line. The Blues won a penalty just short of the line and Ben Blair put the first points on the board.

Despite dominating territory and possession the Blues were only 3 points ahead after 25 minutes. Chris Malone had an effort at goal but struck it wide.

Harlequins started to fight back but good defence kept them out before the Blues were eventually awarded a penalty and cleared.

Malone was again wide ten minutes later and the Harlequins were putting up a fight.

A superb win at the line out saw the ball move out, Gareth Thomas come in on the dummy run, Martyn Williams received and passed to a charging Dafydd Hewitt who sliced the defence to touch down under the posts. Blair converted.

Half time Cardiff Blues 10 Harlequins 0

The second half started at the same pace as the first with the Blues aiming to attack from any position.

The Harlequins were being allowed to play a bit more also and were dominating territory in the early stages.

Some sloppy tackling on the left saw Hal Luscombe force his way over for the Quins first try of the evening. Malone kicked the conversion.

But Quins were penalised for coming in from the side of a ruck just four minutes later and Blair kicked the penalty to earn the Blues some breathing space.

Minutes later De Wet Barry was sent to the bin for a high tackle and Blair again kicked the goal.

Powerful forward play saw the Blues drive forward and eventually Tom Shanklin, who was in the middle of them, touched down for the try. Blair again added the conversion.

With ten minutes to go the Blues needed two tries for the bonus point.

The ref penalised Cardiff for collapsing the scrum and a quick penalty taken by Steve SoÂ’oialo saw them spread the ball wide to Mike Brown who touched down in the corner. However the Blues had won the match ably led by Xavier Rush who was awarded the Heineken man of the match.

15 Ben Blair 14 Jamie Roberts 13 Tom Shanklin 12 Dafydd Hewitt (74on)  11 Gareth Thomas 10 Nick Macleod 9 Jason Spice 8 Xavier Rush (c) 7 Martyn Williams 6 Maama Molitika 5 Paul Tito 4 Deiniol Jones 3 Tauf'au Filise (75off)  2 Gareth Williams (74off) 1 Gethin Jenkins 16 John Yapp (75on) 17 Duane Goodfield (74on) 18 Scott Morgan 19 Mark Lewis 20 Richie Rees 21 Rhys Jones 22 Jamie Robinson (74on)

Attendance 9716


TRIES   D Hewitt x1   Luscombe x 1 
   Shanklin x1    Brown x 1
PENALTIES  B Blair x 3
CONVERSIONS B Blair x 2   Malone x 1