Planet Rugby

Blues cash in with clinical bonus

19th October 2008 16:42

Share:

Nicky Robinson Olly Morgan Cardiff Blues v Gloucester Heineken Cup

Muscled out: Robinson claims the high ball

Cardiff Blues turned on the European style as they claimed a bonus-point 37-24 win over Gloucester, who left the Millennium Stadium with nothing on Sunday.

There had been pre-game murmurs that the venue change from next door would hand the Cherry and Whites a helpful leg-up as they looked to kick on from last week's win against Biarritz with a scalp on the road.

But in front of a decent crowd that included Wales coaches Shaun Edwards and Warren Gatland, it was the home side who prevailed in a thoroughly entertaining spectacle to move five points clear at the Pool Six summit.

The Blues set off at quiet a pace in what could be a vital result come January's shake-up as the steady figure of Jamie Robinson stood up the tackler before freeing wing Leigh Halfpenny for a race to try success.

In many cynics' eyes Gloucester have failed to reach the heights of last season just yet and for the first ten minutes they were chasing blue shadows - loose forward and man-of-the-match Andy Powell swatting off the English grabbers in an eye-catching display.

That admirable start from the Welsh side also saw them shift the point of attack effortlessly with the similarly impressive Ben Blair adding a penalty to his earlier conversion on twelve minutes.

Remarkably, it took Gloucester until close to the second quarter to post their first points as Olly Morgan's chase and hit on Robinson led to a calm Barkley three points.

Soon after a Blair response from the tee came a costly mistake from an innocent looking Maama Molitka as he touched Ryan Lamb's territorial kick in-flight before dabbing down in-goal - hope?

Gloucester duly grabbed their chance with seven points of their own as Morgan received Iain Balshaw's late pass to ground wide out - the score now cut to 13-10 in Cardiff Blues' favour.

Leading up to and after the full-back's crossing, the momentum had certainly changed hands in the Welsh capital as Dean Ryan's men seemed to be creating opportunities at will on the half-hour. And having been warned by referee Alain Rolland for desperate and vital hands in the ruck, the Blues were even spared of cards but ultimately not the points as the away try came.

On a home put-in, Gloucester's strong pack demolished their opponents five out before Luke Narraway broke blind to welcome recipient Balshaw, whose simple crossing turned the lead red.

But it was an advantage that was seriously short-lived as the Blues hit back, and how.

Firstly, Barkley's Hollywood tap-pass found the looming Halfpenny who streaked under the posts from 50 metres before a superb counter from Blair saw the Kiwi race clear with Gareth Thomas finishing off the move in a first-half try fest - a dramatic turnaround with Rolland blowing for half-time at 27-17.

Character was needed from the much-questioned Gloucester outfit and that was found ten minutes into the second period as the tireless Mike Tindall freed his arms to allow Balshaw to grab a simple try down the left flank.

There was always going to be a dip in points on the dusty Millennium turf but what the final forty lacked in crossings it surely made up for in tense excitement.

Not least when playmaker Nicky Robinson chipped over into no-man's-land with Thomas having the simple job of collecting to score. However, much to the grumbles of the expectant home fans the chance went begging as the veteran wing shockingly grabbed thin air.

A dancing Robinson made his earlier smash and grab count on 64 minutes as he attacked Barkley's shoulder at close-range to claim the bonus try from set-piece ball.

The closing stages were made even tougher for the chasing visitors when a mindless yellow card went the way of Olivier Azam for slowing down possession. And continued faultless kicking from Blair subsequently sealed the result as the Gloucester's big-game woes continue to dog their cause.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:

Tries: Halfpenny 2, G Thomas, N Robinson

Con: Blair 4

Pen: Blair 2

For Gloucester:

Tries: Morgan, Balshaw 2

Con: Barkley 3

Pen: Barkley

Yellow card: Olivier Azam (Gloucester) - slowing down the ball on 70 minutes

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Jamie Robinson, 12 Tom Shanklin, 11 Gareth Thomas, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Jason Spice, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Maama Molitka, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Deiniol Jones, 3 Gary Powell, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: 16 Taufa'ao Filise, 17 Gareth Williams, 18 Scott Morgan, 19 Robin Sowden Taylor, 20 Richie Rees, 21 Ceri Sweeney, 22 Jamie Roberts.

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Iain Balshaw, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Olly Barkley, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Alasdair Strokosch, 6 Peter Buxton, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Marco Bortolami, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.

Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jack Forster, 18 Adam Eustace, 19 Andy Hazell, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Willie Walker, 22 Lesley Vainikolo.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

Touch judges: Colin Stanley (Ireland), Dudley Philips (Ireland)

Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954