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Chief pride as Blues show real heart

29th March 2014

Coach Dale McIntosh hailed a performance of heart and passion as Blues stunned high-flying Ulster Rugby 28-23 in a thrilling clash at the Arms Park.

The home side produced one of the most complete performances of the season in the opening 40 minutes as a try from Robin Copeland and the boot of Gareth Davies opened up a 22-5 lead.

Back came Ulster and closed the gap to two points with less than five minutes to go as the home crowd held its breath in a frantic and nail-biting finale.

However, Blues – who welcomed back Matthew Rees - held their nerve with a rock solid defensive show in injury time to banish the memory of defeat to Ospreys last week and spark scenes of joy on the final whistle.

McIntosh said: “That performance was the opposite of the Ospreys game. There was heart, there was passion and there was accuracy.

“We needed that game to get salvation. We know that last week we did an injustice to ourselves, to the region and we did some soul searching in the week to put it right. We made some strides towards that.

“We have spoken the truth this week and put our cards on the table. They have reacted how I expected them to react. We know we have got it in us; it’s just a matter of getting that onto a rugby pitch.

“The try we leaked was an individual error and I thought: “Oh no, here we go again”.  But there was talk before the game about Matthew Rees and the inspiration we take from him.

“The journey he has gone through is unbelievable, he played the ultimate game and he won.

“We were down in the dumps after five minutes when we went 5-0 down, but we knew we had Smiler (Matthew Rees) in the trenches with us. We got up and went again.”

McIntosh also hailed a pumped up Arms Park crowd who roared Blues to victory in the closing stages adding: “I shouted down the mic at the end ‘listen to that crowd, let’s scrum for these guys’.

“It was great to hear, you could hear how passionate they were chanting for their team.

“It puts a smile on people’s faces and that is what it is all about. When you let people down you have got to understand who it impacts on. It’s other people that are important.

“It’s great to see the boys smiling and we can be proud of ourselves tonight.

“We have been erratic this year and everyone knows that. The next challenge for us is the next game,” he added.

“We have got a lot of work to do; we fell off it second half and talked about not making errors but did. The momentum went their way, but luckily we reacted in time to get the result.

“They are a strong team, a great side and I have the utmost admiration for them. They haven’t lost all year because of the calibre of player they have and culture they have got.

“But we beat them and we have to embrace that challenge and keeping it going.”