Border Reivers 14, Cardiff Blues 41 The Border Reivers went through pretty much the same script as their last Magners League outing as they struggled to start and finish tonight’s game whilst putting up a great fight in between. After the game, Reivers head coach Steve Bates admitted: “We responded well in the middle hour, after twenty minutes we came back into the game. In the second half I thought we showed a lot better organisation, which was something we talked about at half-time.Border Reivers 14, Cardiff Blues 41
The Border Reivers went through pretty much the same script as their last Magners League outing as they struggled to start and finish tonight’s game whilst putting up a great fight in between.
After the game, Reivers head coach Steve Bates admitted: “We responded well in the middle hour, after twenty minutes we came back into the game. In the second half I thought we showed a lot better organisation, which was something we talked about at half-time.
“However, you have to take your hat off to Cardiff, they started the game fantastically. They had a lot of pace, a lot of penetration and a lot of imaginative running and we just weren’t quite able to cope with that.
As Cardiff came out of the blocks straight away, the Reivers found themselves 12-0 down after only ten minutes as missed tackles cost them dear, both Mosese Luveitasau and Tom Shanklin crossing the whitewash. Nicky Robinson converted the second.
After the 20 minute mark, Kelly Brown burst the Reivers back into the game with a spectacular solo try.
As the back-rower slipped through a covering tackle on his way to the line, he found himself with no support so decided to chip over the head of the last defender. He ran round the outside and collected the ball to dive over the line. Gregor Townsend adding the conversion.
Seven minutes later, Townsend followed suit in similar style. He received Chris Cusiter’s pass and chipped over the defensive line, collecting at the other side to touch down between the posts. Replacement Steve Jones added the conversion to give the Reivers the lead.
The Blues fought back and added two scores before the break through Shanklin and Luveitasau, ending the Reivers’ hopes of having any advantage going in at half-time.
Only three minutes into the second half, the Reivers lost their captain and scrum-half Chris Cusiter as he suffered a severe stamp to his left foot.
Just before the hour mark, the Reivers almost crossed the line again as John Dalziel set the move off inside his own 22, dribbling the ball forward then setting Dougie Flockhart loose.
Flockhart launched the ball up the right wing and gave chase, arriving at the ball at the same time as the Blues defence, a second swipe at the ball brought Flockhart into the Cardiff 22 but despite the best efforts of Jones who was in support, the Blues were able to clear their line of the danger.
The closing ten minutes were frustrating for the home side as the referee awarded a penalty try to the visitors and sent replacement hooker Steve Scott to the sin bin, all but sealing the fate of the Borderers.
As Robinson slotted the conversion for the penalty try, Rhys Shellard crossed the line twice to flatter the score-line in favour of the Blues.
Man of the Match: Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues)
Border Reivers: Stuart Moffat; Dougie Flockhart, Garry Law, Bryan Rennie, Nick De Luca; Gregor Townsend, Chris Cusiter CAPTAIN; Gavin Kerr, Ross Ford, Ed Kalman, Stuart Grimes, Craig Hamilton, Opeta Palepoi, Kelly Brown, John Dalziel
Substitutes: Andy Miller for Opeta Palepoi (10 mins), Steve Jones for Law (22 mins), Rob Chrystie for Cusiter (43 mins), Bruce Douglas for Kalman (56 mins), Scott Gray for Dalziel (64 mins), Steve Scott for Ford (68 mins)
Unused: Richie Vernon
Cardiff Blues: Nick Macleod; Rhys Williams, Jamie Robinson, Tom Shanklin, Mosese Luveitasau; Nicky Robinson, Ed Fairhurst; Gethin Jenkins, T Rhys Thomas, Gary Powell, Deiniol Jones, Scott Morgan, Mark Lewis, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Xavier Rush
Replacements: Scott Roberts, Gareth Williams, Bradley Davies, Rhys Shellard, Mike Phillips, Dafydd Hewitt, Tom Riley
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)