Late charge by defiant Blues side not enough to break Heineken Champions
The second match of the Irish Invasion saw the Cardiff Blues welcome Leinster to the Cardiff Arms Park. Looking to build on recent form, which has seen three home games wins, the Blues looked to lay to rest the humiliating defeat they suffered when last fronting up to Leinster on Irish soil.
Leinster kicked off the evening at the Arms Park. The visitors got the first points on the board after being awarded a penalty, as Cardiff Blues players where isolated at the breakdown. Ian Madigan secured the points. Blues showed strong pace and ball skills as Rhys Patchell passed to Owen Williams who chipped the ball over the defence, inches from the Leinster try line, but was unable to catch.
Aggressive ball carrying by the Blues forwards lead to a break by Hewitt who tried to pass the ball but was stopped by the Leinster defence. Blues gained a reward for their efforts when Leinster was penalised for indiscretion at the line out, Patchell made no mistake and levelled the scores.
The Blues were rewarded with a further opportunity as Leinster where penalised for holding on, Patchell missed.
With Leinster pushing forward the Blues were penalised at the breakdown for coming in at the sides. A lucky kick by Ian Madigan saw the ball bounce off the post and just make it over the bar to secure Leinster's lead. Both defences proved strong as each side battled to gain ground. The Blues conceded a further penalty which saw Leinster's Ian Madigan push the Irish side further into the lead. Minutes later it was Leinster that proved their worth, scoring the first try of the evening, as their quick pace saw Isaac Boss dive over the Blues try line. Converted by Ian Madigan.
To round off a strongly fought first half, minutes before the half time whistle, Irishman Jordi Murphy picked the ball from the base of the scrum and powered over the whitewash leaving Madigan to convert just before the break.
Half time Cardiff Blues 3 Leinster 23
With a kick and a chase by Patchell the Blues inherit an early penalty which unfortunately bounced just short. The Blues battled through several phases of good possession resulting in a try by Tovey in the corner. Patchell missed the convention.
The Blues, with a regained strength, continued to battle in the Leinster twenty two. A penalty against Leinster for not releasing lead to a tactical break from Owen Williams who managed to hand off two defenders as he hugged the try line. As Leinster conceded a further penalty, Patchell regained his form and slotted through the posts.
Some good foot work saw Hewitt break through two Leinster defenders. As the play was turned over, Patchell charged down a kick by the Leinster men to lead the Blues metres from the opposition try line once more. The Blues continued to work through the phases keeping the visitors pinned back on their line.
Finally Blues capitalised on their efforts which saw Patchell break and land over for the score but to the crowds dismay was brought back by the referee for a knock on. A reversal of fortunes saw Leinster further their lead with a penalty, continuing Ian Madigan's 100% success rate.
With only minutes to go Madigan looked to increase the visitor's lead with a drop goal but kicked wide of the posts. The Blues continued their battle against the Leinster defence in the dying minutes of the game but were unable to prevent a second defeat to the provincial Irish side
Cardiff Blues 15. Jason Tovey 14. Owen Williams 13. Gavin Evans (c )(40 off) 12. Dafydd Hewitt (76off) 11. Harry Robinson 10. Rhys Patchell 9. Lewis Jones (46on)
8. Robin Copeland 7. Rory Watts-Jones(68off) 6. Michael Paterson 5. James Down 4. Macauley Cook (46off) 3. Taufa'ao Filise(46off) 2. Rhys Williams (46off) 1. Sam Hobbs(76off)
16. Marc Breeze (46on) 17. Nathan Trevett (76on) 18. Scott Andrews(46on) 19. Luke Hamilton(68on) 20. Josh Navidi (46on) 21 Alex Walker (46on) Jones 22. Ceri Sweeney(76on) 23. Richard Smith (40 on)
Leinster 15. Dave Kearney 14. Andrew Conway 13. Brendan Macken 12. Andrew Goodman 11. Darren Hudson 10. Ian Madigan 9. Isaac Boss
8. Jordi Murphy 7. Shane Jennings 6. Dominic Ryan 5. Tom Denton 4. Leo Cullen (c) 3. Michael Bent 2. Aaron Dundon 1. Jack McGrath
16. Thomas Sexton 17. Jack O'Connell 18. Jamie Hagan 19. Ben Marshall 20. Rhys Ruddock 21. John Cooney 22. Noel Reid 23. Eoin O'Malley
Tries Tovey x1
Pen Patchell x2
Tries Murphy x1 Boss x1
Con Madigan x2
Pen Madigan x4
Yellow Cards T Denton