By: Paul Hopkins
A plucky Swansea side fell to a 0-45 hammering to a Dewi Cross inspired Cardiff side under the Arms Park lights.
The signs that it would be a difficult night were clear in the opening moments when number eight Charlie Davies dropped a simple catch inside his own half to put his side under immediate pressure.
From the set piece, lock Sean Moore made a break and forced the Whites’ defence backwards, before quick ball through the hands of full back Dan Fish sent pacey winger Cross in for a try. Fly half Ben Burnell missed the conversion.
The Blue and Blacks extended their lead with a second try after just six minutes when centre Joe Goodchild sidestepped a tackle and sprinted towards the line before he threw an inside pass to scrum half Tom Habberfield, who did the rest. Burnell converted.
Flanker Callum Bowden made good yards in midfield as Swansea enjoyed a first spell of possession inside the Cardiff half. The home side failed to release winger Matthew Jenkins in the tackle so fly half Liam Popham found touch a few metres out from the try line.
Lock Sam Martin collected the lineout and hooker Garan Williams tried to maul around the blindside, but he was wrapped up. A further penalty followed when the Blue and Blacks’ defence stepped offside, and the Whites chose to kick for touch, although Williams’ lineout throw was too long and the move broke down.
Swansea were awarded a third penalty in quick succession and Popham kicked to touch. As the visitors drove towards the line, Cardiff managed to steal possession and clear, although play was brought back for a Swansea penalty when the home side strayed offside.
A crooked throw by Williams gave Cardiff a scrum inside their own half, from which the pack earned a penalty. Burnell found touch midway between the half way and 22, but the All Whites defended well and secured a turnover.
Fish made a mazy run through the middle and he was supported by Moore, but flanker Nathan Hudd ran out of space and was tackled into touch.
Hudd looked to make amends immediately when he showed great strength to race upfield and Burnell almost sent an outrageous dummy, but the Swansea defence telegraphed it and were awarded a penalty when the home support became isolated.
Moore stepped offside at the defensive line and Popham chipped to the corner with the penalty. Davies took the lineout and yet another transgression by the Blue and Blacks saw team captain Habberfield given a warning.
The All Whites chose a close range scrum from which a free kick followed, and then a penalty, with Hudd yellow carded.
Burnell found touch near the Swansea 22 to set up a rare Cardiff attack and a powerful drive from the maul saw Cross wriggle through a tackle and race up to the line, with centre Aaron Pinches on hand to score.
On the stroke of half time the Blue and Blacks cut loose with Burnell orchestrating another attack, finding Brynley Toms in support, but the prop’s looping pass out to Fish was deemed forward after a prolonged TMO.
Half-time:- Cardiff 19-0 Swansea
The home side should have scored a fifth try immediately after half time when Pinches split the Swansea defence, but Cross dropped an easy pass that would have seen the winger touch down under the posts.
Lock Mackenzie Martin stole possession on the ground as Cardiff powered over the 22 and the visitors looked to have gained a vital turnover but lost the ball forward to give the home side an attacking scrum. Illegal hooking gifted Swansea a penalty though.
A powerful 10 metre rolling maul by the home pack set up an attack with Burnell sidestepping past three tacklers to send winger James Beal over for a try… or so it seemed… play was brought back following a TMO with Swansea awarded a penalty and replacement lock James Richards shown a red card for a swinging arm.
Burnell found touch on the Swansea 22 with a penalty and a powerful maul from the lineout looked promising for the home side, but a forward pass out to Cross ended the move. Play was brought back for an earlier penalty though and Burnell again chipped to the corner.
This time a well worked lineout almost saw replacement hooker Efan Daniel score in the corner, before his side lost possession through a knock on with scrum half Harvey Nash able to box kick clear. Another huge maul from the lineout saw the visitors penalised and given a warning.
Burnell chipped into touch and another rolling maul began, which this time paid dividends for the Blue and Blacks as Daniel crashed over for a bonus point try. Burnell converted.
A powerful scrum by the home side earned a penalty, which Burnell pinged into the corner. From the lineout the home pack rumbled forward with Daniel claiming his second try after a brief check with the TMO. Burnell converted.
Replacement fly half Chris Morgans tried to race through a gap, but was penalised for holding on in the tackle. Burnell chipped to the corner and from the lineout Martin was yellow carded for foul play.
A powerful Cardiff scrum followed, and it allowed the backs to stretch their legs with Cross shrugging off a weak tackle to score. Burnell converted.
Full back Gareth O Rees set up a Swansea attack when he fielded a Burnell chip and chase, but replacement hooker Kian Jones was turned over. Substitute scrum half Joe Williams got quick ball out wide with Burnell throwing a scoring pass to replacement full back Jacob Lloyd in the corner. Burnell missed the conversion. To compound a difficult evening for the visitors, Gareth O Rees was yellow carded for foul play in the build up.
Full-time:- Cardiff 45-0 Swansea
Tries:- Dewi Cross (3, 80+1), Tom Habberfield (6), Arron Pinches (37), Efan Daniel (69, 74), Jacob Lloyd (80+6)
Cons:- Ben Burnell (7, 38, 70, 75, 80+2)
Yellow cards:- Nathan Hudd (31)
Red cards:- James Richards (59)
Yellow cards:- Sam Martin (79), Gareth O Rees (80+7)
Venue:- Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Weather:- Clear, 10C
Man of the match:- Dewi Cross
15 Dan Fish (rep: Jacob Lloyd 75)
14 James Beal
13 Joe Goodchild (rep: Harrison James 70)
12 Arron Pinches
11 Dewi Cross
10 Ben Burnell
9 Tom Habberfield © (rep: Joe Williams 50)
1 Brynley Toms (rep: Theo Bevacqua 61)
2 Evan Lloyd (rep: Efan Daniel 27)
3 Scott Andrews (rep: Freddie Barnes 61)
4 MacKenzie Martin
5 Sean Moore (rep: James Richards 41)
6 Alex Mann
7 Nathan Hudd
8 Ellis Thomas (rep: Morgan Allen 66)
16 Theo Bevacqua
17 Efan Daniel
18 Freddie Barnes
19 James Richards
20 Morgan Allen
21 Joe Williams
22 Harrison James
23 Jacob Lloyd
15 Gareth O Rees
14 Matthew Jenkins
13 Dan O’Sullivan (rep: Hanno Dirksen 17)
12 Kieran Charles
11 Harvey James
10 Liam Popham (rep: Chris Morgans 71)
9 Harvey Nash (rep: Connor Tantum 80)
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Freddie Chapman 61)
2 Garan Williams (rep: Kian Jones 75)
3 Richard Murphy (rep: Oliver Rees 75)
4 Liam Edwards
5 Sam Martin
6 Dai Francis (rep: Jack Goodridge (80+2)
7 Callum Bowden
8 Charlie Davies (rep: Sam Richards 61)
16 Kian Jones
17 Freddie Chapman
18 Oliver Rees
19 Sam Richards
20 Jack Goodridge
21 Connor Tantum
22 Chris Morgans
23 Hanno Dirksen