Twenty four hours after a dramatic F.A. Cup final the Millennium Stadium was the stage for an equally dramatic rugby match.
Thousand of supporters gathered in the city centre on the sunny Sunday afternoon before the game and by the time of kick off Cardiff Blues fans held the Celtic League record attendance with 15,327 supporters watching the match.
The Blues got off to a great start when Jamie Robinson broke great support play by Robin Sowden-Taylor and Mike Phillips eventually saw the ball go out to Nic MacLeod who managed to cross the line for first try of the game. The Blues came close to scoring the second try when Nic MacLeod once again broke and Chris Czekaj showed excellent strength to beat his man. Leinster eventually won the ball back but failed to clear their line and the Blues were awarded a penalty after Leinster infringed in a ruck. Robinson kicked the penalty and another a few minutes late to give the Blues a 11-0 lead. Leinster soon struck back following a good run Denis Hickie, Czekaj did well to track back but when the ball emerged from the ruck the clearance kick was charged down and Shane Horgan gathered the ball and crossed for Leinsters first try, converted by Contepomi. The next score came from a moment of individual brilliance by scrum half Mike Phillips. The young scrum half threw a dummy 40 yards out and had the speed and the skill to round Girvan Dempsey to score the try converted by Robinson. Leinster soon fought back and following a penalty from Conteponi, Adam Byrnes managed to charge down a clearance kick and once again the ball bounced favourably to the Irish with Gordon DArcy collecting the ball to cross for a try converted by Contepomi.
CARDIFF BLUES 18 LEINSTER 17
With the game finally balanced at half time both teams knew the win could go either way. It was the blues who got the first score of the second half when they worked and overlap and Chris Czekaj had the speed to sprint in for his first try converted by Robinson. It was a real cliff hanger of a game and Leinster soon struck back with a try for winger Denis Hickie. Contepomi once again converted so there still only a one point gap separating the teams. Nicky Robinson kicked another penalty but Leinster took the lead for the first time in the match when Contepomi chipped the ball through. The ball bounced off the base of the posts in to the arms of Rob Kearney and he managed to force his way over the line for the try converted by Contepomi. The Blues were trailing by 28-31 but soon regained their lead when they won a line out in Leinsters half. Jamie Robinson managed to cut through the defence and a well timed pass saw Martyn Williams cross for the fourth try of the game. Once again Robinson was accurate with his conversion. The icing on the cake for the Cardiff Blues came in injury time when Craig Morgan who was playing his 200th game for Cardiff RFC and Cardiff Blues and will be leaving to join Bristol in the summer managed to cross the line to end a thrilling match. It was a superb day for all involved and a great advertisement for the Cardiff Blues.