Cardiff Blues 10-20 Edinburgh. Toulouse 15-17 Cardiff Blues.
Just 50 days separated those two scorelines, but in rugby terms they were a lifetime apart. For Cardiff Blues showed last night in France everything that they lacked on the opening day of the season at the Arms Park.
Two weeks after that defeat to Edinburgh we took a losing bonus-point in the home game against Glasgow, and I wrote that if someone had offered me that whilst leaving CAP after round one I’d have snapped their arm off.
Well, if they had also said we’d be beating Lyon and Toulouse in the same week I’d have had them locked up for their own safety. Delusion is a dangerous thing.
In a way though, there has to be an element of delusion to be a Cardiff Blues fan. An undying optimism deep down that, no matter what the fixture, there’s an outside chance that we could get a result.
Outwardly there has been a lot of negativity throughout September, feasted on by the sections of Scrum V and WalesOnline. Openly mocked by fans of other Welsh sides and beyond. It wasn’t an easy few weeks to keep the faith.
However, nights like Friday make the dreaming worthwhile. 23 men putting their bodies on the line for the Cardiff Blues jersey. Tackle-after-tackle, carry-after-carry, scrum-after-scrum.
Part of a rugby history that invented the three-quarter line as we know it, playing running rugby out of our own 22. A pack that had no right to compete with their much heavier French opponents, out-mauling them to drive over the try line.
Brad Thyer, Ethan Lewis and Dillon Lewis saw out the game A front row with an average age of 23 causing Toulouse to opt for a lineout rather than a scrum.
Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans bossed the game from half-back. A 22 and 21 year-old out playing their French international Toulouse counterparts.
Kris Dacey, James Down, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams, Rey Lee-Lo and Blaine Scully providing an experienced core to a fresh-faced squad.
Matthew Morgan, so often the victim of vociferous criticism, winning man-of-the-match for his defensive display as much as his attacking threat.
Macauley Cook and Fa’ao Filise thread themselves further into the fabric of Cardiff Blues history.
Corey Domachowski edges ever closer to a Wales cap, possibly to be joined by Alex Cuthbert, the man who never gives up.
Willis Halaholo, Olly Robinson and Damian Welch with smaller, but no less crucial roles, while Steve Shingler gave as good as he got.
Garyn Smith, the surprise package of the last week, leading the defence in a suffocating of Toulouse.
Danny Wilson and his coaching staff, ever composed and retaining the trust of the players with turmoil all around.
And Seb Davies. Oh, Seb. Please sign a new contract and stay forever.
There is a bond within this group that is becoming increasingly unbreakable. They play for the supporters, for the jersey, but most importantly, they play for each other.
Off-field worries of finances, the lease, and the fact that the hope always kills us won’t go away just yet, but for now they can linger in the background as we bask in the glory of victory in another Cardiff v Toulouse classic European encounter.
Game-by-game we’ll crawl back to the top. The outsiders will do what they do best and hate everything about us, but I’m always proud to say Cardiff Blues is my club, and nights like that just go to confirm it.
COME ON CARDIFF!!