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An Tarbh
28-03-09, 10:42 AM
<div align='center'>http://www.therugbyforum.com/forum/uploads/Cardiff.pnghttp://www.therugbyforum.com/forum/uploads/Northampton.png
Cardiff Blues v Northampton</div>

A foot injury denies Martyn Williams the chance to face Northampton at Ricoh Arena, his back-row place filled by Robin Sowden-Taylor.

The Blues welcome back Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin and Jamie Roberts from Wales Six Nations duty, while Gethin Jenkins also returns in the forwards.

Paul Diggin replaces Sean Lamont on the Saints wing with Stephen Myler preferred to Barry Everitt at fly-half.

Tom Smith, Dylan Hartley and Euan Murray return in a new-look front row.

Argentine second row Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe and flanker Scott Gray also come in to freshen up a side that lost 32-27 to London Irish last time out.

Wales squad members Bradley Davies and John Yapp return to the Blues bench after winning caps against Italy but number eight Andy Powell is still absent after injured a thigh muscle last Friday.

Blues coach Dai Young hopes his side can go a step further than last season.

The Blues failed to reach the same stage last year and Young does not want to risk them blowing the chance of making the final by thinking too far ahead.

"We know how big this game is and we want to go one step further and get to the final," said Young.

"We are certainly not talking about the final or winning it, we are just talking about Northampton.

"They are a quality outfit. We know how hard it is going to be, but if we can reach the heights that we&#39;ve reached for most of the season, I&#39;m confident we will come away with the result."

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder is also expecting a tough encounter and also praised the quality of the opposition.

"We certainly know that we will have to be at our very best to beat them. They&#39;ve got top-class players in their squad who are household names like Gethin Jenkins and Tom Shanklin as well as plenty of others with lots of experience like Xavier Rush, Paul Tito and Ben Blair," he said.

"But we have played well in our last few games and with our international players returning we have some selection dilemmas.

"I&#39;ve been delighted with the way the internationals have played in the Six Nations, but have also been delighted with how the players who have come into the Saints side have performed.

"There were certainly several tough decisions over who will play on Saturday."

Route to the semi-final:

The Blues beat Leicester Tigers, Bath and the Sale Sharks on their way to reaching the semi-final, which is being held at the Ricoh Arena.

Northampton Saints, eighth in the Guinness Premiership, made it to the last four by beating Bristol and the Scarlets in their group.

Cardiff Blues: Blair; Halfpenny, Shanklin, Roberts, James; N Robinson, Spice; Jenkins, G Williams, Filise, D Jones, Tito (capt), Molitika, Sowden Taylor, Rush.
Replacements: Yapp, Rhys Thomas, B Davies, Morgan, Rees, Sweeney, J Robinson.

Northampton Saints: Foden; Diggin, Ansbro, Downey, Reihana (capt); Myler, Dickson; Smith, Hartley, Murray, Fernandez Lobbe, Kruger, Best, Gray, Wilson.
Replacements: Sharman, Tonga&#39;uiha, Lawes, Easter, Dickens, Everitt, Mayor.

BBC Sport (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/7962066.stm)

Lukascd
28-03-09, 10:49 AM
The Blues by 10 points!

dullonien
28-03-09, 10:57 AM
It seems Northampton have been playing well while the English boys have been on England duty (how many players do Northampton loose to the national squad?). I can&#39;t see past a Blues win here, as long as they take any of their form from Europe it should be a 10 point win min. Famous last words!

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 11:34 AM
yeah but they take their domestic form and they&#39;ll be in serious trouble.

monkeypigeon
28-03-09, 04:27 PM
I quite like the look of the Northampton pack, but it&#39;s quite a snazzy Cardiff backline so should be a close one.

I see the NH back three having a good day and dominating, Cardiff backs don&#39;t get ball and Meyler has a good match and Cardiff somehow win.

MunsterMan
28-03-09, 04:32 PM
Good analysis, Cardiff look weak from 1-10, which is where Northampton look strongest. Tough one to call, but I think Blair&#39;s boot could pull Cardiff through.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 04:37 PM
well I&#39;m just hoping for a decent match now given the drivel we&#39;ve been served up in the previous one.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:18 PM
Blair gets a relatively easy one to open the Blues&#39; account, certainly making a better fist than the kickers in the previous match.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:19 PM
nothing chip there from Gray, would have better to keep it in hand.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:23 PM
nice bounce on the kick there, nearly making Foden look pretty stupid there.

Hall
28-03-09, 05:24 PM
Throw by Hartley!

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:26 PM
Molitika hanging on, Meyler doesn&#39;t make the most of an easy chance.

monkeypigeon
28-03-09, 05:29 PM
Have to say, I&#39;ve been very impressed by Dylan Hartley. Seems acurate strong and good in the loose.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:31 PM
does make his ommission from the England starting lineup all the more baffling.

Impressed with Clancy actually running towards the players who were looking to start something, makes a change from the Wayne Barnes approach of running away like a coward.

Blair fails to double the score.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:33 PM
Foden very nearly caught there but good support to get the kick away.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:39 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Monkeypigeon @ Mar 28 2009, 06:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387600')</div>
Have to say, I&#39;ve been very impressed by Dylan Hartley. Seems acurate strong and good in the loose.[/b]

that said though he&#39;s close to going in the bin.

Poor effort to find touch there.

monkeypigeon
28-03-09, 05:39 PM
We&#39;ve got a total Cork feen as ref boi! "Don&#39;t give away no penalties or I&#39;ll give you a clatter and send you the sin-gaff"

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:41 PM
he&#39;s from the Bull Hayes neck of the woods.

woeful hands from Ansbro previously.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:43 PM
Roberts could well have a chance to cement a Lions place with some big performances in the next few weeks especially if the injuries are serious to both Henson and Tindall.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:46 PM
wow an overlap for Saints and Davies doesn&#39;t shout NUMBERS.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:50 PM
Blues make their possession play, Spice finds the gap in the defence to get through for the try.

monkeypigeon
28-03-09, 05:50 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (An Tarbh @ Mar 28 2009, 05:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387608')</div>
wow an overlap for Saints and Davies doesn&#39;t shout NUMBERS.[/b]

I know. Nearly went into shock.

Nice hopover there by Spice.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:52 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Monkeypigeon @ Mar 28 2009, 06:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387610')</div>
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (An Tarbh @ Mar 28 2009, 05:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387608')
wow an overlap for Saints and Davies doesn&#39;t shout NUMBERS.[/b]

I know. Nearly went into shock.

Nice hopover there by Spice.
[/b][/quote]

give him time it&#39;ll come :lol:

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 05:58 PM
that kick should have been gathered, could have been a huge turnaround had it done so.

MunsterMan
28-03-09, 06:12 PM
Great try by the Saints to start the second half!

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:12 PM
Ansbro makes amends for his handling error in the first half to get in for the try in the corner, did extremely well to keep his foot from going into touch, cracking start to the second half for Saints.

MunsterMan
28-03-09, 06:24 PM
Great break by Halfpenny but Saints get the ball back.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:25 PM
quality break from Halfpenny just a pity he didn&#39;t have a back on his shoulder in support.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:26 PM
another great break for the Blues from James but awful passing along the backs, making it so easy for the Saints defence just to shepherd Shanklin into touch

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:28 PM
take your points Blues don&#39;t do a Jones on it.

monkeypigeon
28-03-09, 06:31 PM
I love that guy...loverly chip

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:31 PM
Halfpenny is really turning it on in this second half but does lose possession.

Cymro
28-03-09, 06:35 PM
What a shocking penalty!

Northampton pop up and thye ae given the penalty thats bloody wrong!

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:35 PM
Murray doing a number on Jenkins in the scrum, that&#39;ll do his Lions chances no harm

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:36 PM
well nobody has kicked well today to be honest but you expect them to be got.

Cymro
28-03-09, 06:37 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (An Tarbh @ Mar 28 2009, 06:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387629')</div>
Murray doing a number on Jenkins in the scrum, that&#39;ll do his Lions chances no harm[/b]

It was not though!

Jenkins forced him up even though they were going forward Northampton poped up whcih should have meant a re-scrum to the Saints or a penalty to Cardiff!

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:38 PM
well it revved up the Blues front row in that one.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:55 PM
that wasn&#39;t the time for Everett to miss touch

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:57 PM
that could well be the death knell in Saints European aspirations.

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 06:59 PM
So a Gloucester Blues rematch at Twickenham, should be interesting.

Completenutter2
28-03-09, 08:36 PM
Missed the end. Who was man of the match?

Cymro
28-03-09, 08:42 PM
http://www.welshrugbypics.co.uk/events/paul-tito-130808/thumbs/CDF_Paul_Tito03.jpg

Paul Tito!

gjohn85
28-03-09, 08:55 PM
Congrats to the Blues, they deserved the win, tis a shame there wasn&#39;t more tries in the game.

Northampton done really well in the second half. The way the first half went, I thought the flood gates would open. Credit to the saints 2nd half performance especially they&#39;re defence.

Completenutter2
28-03-09, 08:56 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Cymro @ Mar 28 2009, 08:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387647')</div>
http://www.welshrugbypics.co.uk/events/paul-tito-130808/thumbs/CDF_Paul_Tito03.jpg

Paul Tito![/b]

Thanks :)

dullonien
28-03-09, 09:02 PM
Awesome match, Blues are really showing the hard edge they need, and are learning how to close out tight games, which should put them in good stead for the HC.

As with the Ospreys (to a lesser extent though), the Blues do need to improve their finishing, they created numerous clean breaks but only converted one into a try, support needs to be quicker and cleverer with the ball they get.

I have to pay tribute to Northhampton, great effort there in the second half after the shocker they had in the first. Their scramble defence was insane at times, really making the Blues pay for getting isolated after making searing breaks. There&#39;s more to come from both teams I feel. Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable second half that brightened the day after the messery of the first Semi.

Cymro
28-03-09, 09:14 PM
To be honest I think Northampton deserved the victory second half! But the Blues closed the game down which was pleasing to see, Blues still need a decent tight head we really really do! To be fair Spice was not great and cannot wait for Cooper next year!

danny
28-03-09, 09:19 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Cymro @ Mar 28 2009, 09:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387654')</div>
To be honest I think Northampton deserved the victory second half! But the Blues closed the game down which was pleasing to see, Blues still need a decent tight head we really really do! To be fair Spice was not great and cannot wait for Cooper next year![/b]
Spice must be ****e if you are looking forward to Coopers arrival.

Cymro
28-03-09, 09:43 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (danny @ Mar 28 2009, 09:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387656')</div>
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Cymro @ Mar 28 2009, 09:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=387654')
To be honest I think Northampton deserved the victory second half! But the Blues closed the game down which was pleasing to see, Blues still need a decent tight head we really really do! To be fair Spice was not great and cannot wait for Cooper next year![/b]
Spice must be ****e if you are looking forward to Coopers arrival.
[/b][/quote]

Anything is better than Spice .... wait ill say that again cause Richie Rees aint any better either!

danny
28-03-09, 09:59 PM
Cooper played his best ever game today for the mighty Glaws. On the wing for a few minutes! GO NOW PLEASE!!

Thingimubob
28-03-09, 10:04 PM
ah great game, glad the Blues pulled it off and nice to see them finally reach the final. Should be an interesting final, can see the Blues being confident about it considering they beat Gloucester in a cracking match in the the Millenium Stadium, and with only 14 men for most of the match in Kingsholm. I hope they&#39;re not over-conmfident though, Gloucester are a good team, and will most likely be out for revenge.
Hats of to the Saints though, they&#39;re defence was outstanding, and they scored a cracking try too! Blues did well to come out on top, and glad they showed a bit more of an edge and purpose to close tight games down. Can&#39;t wait for the Toulouse match now :D should be a cracker!

danny
28-03-09, 10:11 PM
Who wouldnt be confident playing GLOUCESTER in a final. We are still an accident constantly happening!

An Tarbh
28-03-09, 10:15 PM
well it all depends how the Toulouse match goes the week before.

Ozzay
29-03-09, 09:49 AM
That Dylan Hartley really ****** me off lol

Great Game, Really Enjoyed it, After the first half, i thought the Blues would come out and win by much more, but great try from their centre in the corner.

Nicky Robinson again blew hot and cold, how many touch kicks did he miss? but then he put some decent kicks in open play.

Gloucester again, Different Game though, Hope they aren&#39;t to overconfident

Bullitt
02-04-09, 05:28 PM
Saints monstered the scrum, Blues monstered the rest of the game.

Fair result.

danny
02-04-09, 09:09 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
Gloucester again, Different Game though, Hope they aren&#39;t to overconfident[/b]

Fat chance of that!