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Cardiff Blues (8) 11 - 3 (3) Leinster Rugby
Cardiff City Stadium,
Saturday, 19th February 2011, 18:30

There is certainly an argument against playing Magners League fixtures at this time of year. Especially for the bigger teams like Leinster, who can suffer greatly in the Spring, as the coaches look to diminished squads, and untested combinations for form. This was exactly the problem coach Joe Schmidt was faced with on Saturday as his seriously depleted squad travelled to Cardiff for a tough game against the Blues.

Both sides certainly were feeling the pinch due to international duties, but Leinster, who had the always difficult task of travelling to Cardiff, were feeling it much more, having only a smattering of first team players to choose from. Leo Cullen was released from the Irish team to bolster Leinster's squad, but apart from captain fantastic the only really senior player present was the ever brilliant Isa Nacewa, who doesn't seem to leave a game without some points, kicking Leinster's only penalty of the entire game, although missing a kick early on.

Although Cardiff dominated the possession figures, they were met with a Leinster defensive wall that proved very difficult to penetrate. It wasn't until about the 30 minute mark, after a series of phases, that Martyn Williams saw Dan Fish over the line. The conversion was missed but the points put the home side 8-3 up at half time.

Leinster improved their attacking display in the second half and tried to bring the game to the Blues. Eoin O'Malley was held up over the line in what could have been a game changing try as the visitors built momentum. However, a string or errors and turn overs left Leinster unable to move forward, Sweeney putting the nail in Leinster's coffin.

Depleted again, Leinster will take on Treviso in the RDS on Friday, revenge firmly on their minds for the early season defeat. Reduced side or not, one must favour Schmidt's men to kick into gear and emerge victorious.

Team Lineups

Cardiff Blues
11 - 3
Leinster Rugby
Tries Fish


Penalties Sweeney (2)


Teams Dan Fish
15 Isa Nacewa
Richard Mustoe
14 Andrew Conway
Gavin Evans
13 Eoin O'Malley
Dafydd Hewitt
12 Eamonn Sheridan
Tom James
11 Niall Morris
Ceri Sweeney
10 Ian McKinley
Tom Slater
9 Isaac Boss

John Yapp
1 Heinke van der Merwe
Gareth Williams
2 Richardt Strauss
Tau Filise
3 Clint Newland
Deinoil Jones
4 Leo Cullen (C)
Paul Tito (C)
5 Devin Toner
Andries Pretorius
6 Kevin McLaughlin
Martyn Williams
7 Dominic Ryan
Xavier Rush
8 Rhys Ruddock

Replacements Rhys Williams
16 Jason Harris-Wright
Sam Hobbs
17 Jack McGrath
Scott Andrews
18 Stan Wright
Ben White
19 Nathan Hines
Ma'ama Molitika
20 Stephen Keogh
Rhys Downes
21 Eoin Reddan
Dan Parks
22 Ian Madigan
James Loxton
23 Michael Keating

Not Considered
due to Injury
T Rhys Thomas,
Ben Blair,
Gethin Jenkins,
Michael Paterson,
Lloyd Williams,
Tom Shanklin,
Casey Laulala,
Tom Davies

Rob Kearney,
Brendan Macken,
Shane Horgan,
Shaun Berne
Officials Referee: Carlo Damasco (FIR)
Assistant Referees: James Jones, Phil Connett (WRU)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (WRU)

by Patrick Fennelly, © 2011-02-23