Cardiff Loses in Semifinal Disaster as Penalty Shootout Is Criticised

Sean KellyAnalyst IMay 5, 2009

CARDIFF, WALES - MAY 03:  Martyn Williams of Cardiff misses during the sudden death penalty shoot to lose the Heineken Cup semi final match between Cardiff Blues and Leicester Tigers at the Millennium Stadium on May 3, 2009 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

How many times has the loyal football fan been hung onto the edge of their seat as they watch the most nerving penalty shootout? It has now become a familiar piece of entertainment in the footballing world, yet it was the rugby fans turn this time.

The Millennium Stadium was the location for the first penalty shootout in a major rugby competition. The Tigers seemed to have the game wrapped up at  26-12, until a late couplet of tries from Jamie Roberts and Tom James.

The scores stayed the same through extra time, with neither side being able to penetrate the other's defence, which led to the historic ending of the penalty shootout.

Johne Murphy, Leicester's fourth kicker, was the first to miss. However, Tom James, Cardiff's fifth kicker (who earlier scored a fantastic try to level the scores), missed his, which led to sudden death.

Both sides succeeded in slotting home their four kicks of sudden death, until Cardiff's Martin Williams screwed his wide. The miss was punished by Jordan Crane's nicely struck penalty, which won the game for the Tigers.

The finale of the penalty shootout has been highly criticised since, with many players from sides scrutinising it as a finish to a semifinal.

Richard Cockerill described it as a "cruel way to lose, and a disappointing way to win."

Surely Rugby has come far enough to think of a different way to end a game that has been tied for more than 80 minutes and extra time?

What do you think of the penalty shootout palaver?