Friday, May 08, 2009
Last weekend's epic Heineken Cup Semi Final between the Cardiff Blues and Leicester Tigers will be remembered more for the historic, and slightly, bizarre penalty shootout. If the Blues had won at the kicking contest though, the game would probably be more remembered for their sensational comeback, and some great tries.
The Tigers scored two excellent tries through Scott Hamilton and Geordan Murphy, both of which were created in some part by flyhalf Toby Flood. Flood unfortunately injured himself during the match, rupturing his Achilles tendon and will be out of all rugby for the next 6 months.
With just six minutes left in the match, and trailing 26-12, the Blues looked dead and buried with seemingly no way back. Two yellow cards for the Tigers soon changed that though, which sparked life into the Blues as they scored two quick fire tries through some brilliance from big Jamie Roberts, and superb finishing by wing Tom James.
Kiwi Ben Blair had two absolutely vital kicks to convert from the touchline, which he duly slotted, resulting in a 26-26 stalemate that led to extra time and then the much spoken about penalty shoot-out.
"It was strange to be involved in something like that, but it was pretty cool and we won it, so that helps," fellow Kiwi Craig Newby said.
"I back myself with the boot. I love kicking goals. I lived with Willie Walker and I used to hang around with him after training when we played for North Harbour. Then I lived with Nick Evans for three years and did the same thing. I should have been first on the list really!"
Martyn Williams though, the man who missed the vital kick for the Blues, wasn't as enthusiastic.
"There's never been a penalty shoot-out before in rugby, so I guess I've earned myself a place in the record books. But it's not one that I wanted.
"Lewis Moody, Geordan Murphy and Martin Corry all came over to me. They said they didn't feel like celebrating that much because of the way the game had ended, and they just said to keep my chin up.
"Fair play to them, they are top men for doing that."
Shoot-out glory for the Leicester Tigers
Note: Watch the full penalty shoot-out via the link above.