By: Paul Hopkins
A plucky Swansea side fell to a comprehensive defeat at home to title chasing Cardiff.
It was one way traffic in the early moments when flanker Nathan Hudd made a break into the Swansea 22, forcing the All Whites offside. Fly half Dan Fish kicked his side into a 3-0 lead.
Flanker Alun Rees showed his strength to evade a couple of Swansea tackles with the home side penalised for holding on after the tackle. Fish turned down a simple kick at goal to instead find the corner.
Despite an untidy maul, the Blue and Blacks managed to keep possession and were awarded an attacking scrum, but the pack gave away a free kick.
A misfiring kick by Fish sailed out on the full and flanker Callum Bowden claimed an unorthodox lineout with the Cardiff defence straying offside in midfield. Fly half Dan Edwards found touch on the 22 and it was the home forwards’ turn to make ground with a maul with hooker Lewis Lloyd and number eight Morgan Morse combining well, but the Blue and Blacks secured a turnover.
The visitors’ first try came in spectacular fashion when the quick thinking Fish switched up a penalty touch finder to instead send winger Joe Goodchild over for a try in the corner with a crossfield kick. Fish converted.
The Blue and Blacks powered forward, but an outstanding Whites defence managed to secure a turnover a metre short of the try line.
A superb move by the home backs sparked a rare attack with flanker Sean Moore charging forward and the Cardiff was defence penalised for diving over the top of a ruck. Dan Edwards kicked the three pointer.
Hooker Efan Daniel nipped in to steal a lineout to spark a counterattack and the home side gave away a penalty for a high tackle. Fish missed a simple kick at goal though.
Half-time:- Swansea 3-10 Cardiff
Morse made a break through the middle as the All Whites began the brighter side after the interval and were awarded a penalty, although Dan Edwards missed his effort at goal.
A superb break by full back Cameron Winnett split the Swansea defence but centre James Davies managed to track back to intercept a pass and save his side from conceding a certain try.
The visitors were back on the attack though and earned a penalty when the home pack collapsed a maul. Fish chipped to the corner and a well worked lineout saw scrum half Ethan Lloyd throw a pass out wide to Daniel, who strolled over for a try. Fish converted.
A superb 50/22 kick by Fish gave the visitors an ideal attacking platform with Lloyd and Daniel combining in similar fashion to the second try, but a spillage brought an end to the move.
Prop Rhys Barratt made good yards in the 22 as the Blue and Blacks went in search of another score, but Goodchild was wrapped up on the wing and the Whites secured a turnover at the next phase.
The Cardiff pressure soon told when Daniel chipped through into the corner with the chasing replacement centre Ryan Wilkins touching down in the corner. Fish converted.
Swansea hit back immediately when substitute hooker Owen Thomas made a barnstorming run through the middle with Morse on hand to score. Dan Edwards missed the conversion though.
It seemed to spark the home side into life and Dan Edwards gained important territory with a penalty touch finder. Despite laying siege to the visitors’ line, the ball was held up over the line though and Cardiff were able to clear.
Goodchild superbly intercepted a Swansea pass to send replacement winger Harrison Jones sprinting through the middle, but he was well wrapped up and the home side were able to clear.
Cardiff did manage to clinch a bonus point try in the dying minutes when superb handling by the backs saw replacement scrum half Joe Williams touch down in the corner. Fish missed the conversion.
Full-time:- Swansea 8-29 Cardiff
Tries:- Morgan Morse (66)
Pens:- Dan Edwards (34)
Tries:- Joe Goodchild (16), Efan Daniel (46), Ryan Wilkins (63), Joe Williams (80)
Cons:- Dan Fish (17, 47, 64)
Pens:- Dan Fish (2)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Sunny, 12C
Referee:- Lewis Harrison
Man of the match:- Joe Goodchild
15 Gareth O Rees
14 Llien Morgan
13 Hanno Dirksen (rep: Kieran Charles 17)
12 James Davies
11 Matthew Jenkins (rep: Harri Houston 47)
10 James Davies
9 Harvey Nash (rep: Gareth J Rees 63)
1 Cameron Jones (rep: Garyn Phillips 49)
2 Lewis Lloyd (rep: Owen Thomas 55)
3 Ben Warren (rep: Scott Jenkins 63)
4 Liam Edwards (rep: Lewis Jones 53)
5 Matt Dodd
6 Sean Moore (rep: Tristan Davies 49)
7 Callum Bowden ©
8 Morgan Morse
16 Owen Thomas
17 Garyn Phillips
18 Scott Jenkins
19 Lewis Jones
20 Tristan Davies
21 Gareth J Rees
22 Kieran Charles
23 Harri Houston
15 Cameron Winnett
14 Joe Goodchild
13 Ioan Evans (rep: Ryan Wilkins 61)
12 Arron Pinches
11 Dewi Cross (rep: Harrison James 70)
10 Dan Fish ©
9 Ethan Lloyd (rep: Joe Williams 70)
1 Rhys Barratt (rep: Brynley Toms 60)
2 Efan Daniel (rep: Scott Andrews 74)
3 Ollie Drake (rep: Freddie Barnes 55)
4 Sean Moore
5 James Richards
6 Alun Rees
7 Nathan Hudd (rep: Bevan Jay 67)
8 Mackenzie Martin (rep: James Rhydderch-Roberts 80+1)
16 Scott Andrews
17 Brynley Toms
18 Freddie Barnes
19 James Rhydderch-Roberts
20 Bevan Jay
21 Joe Williams
22 Harrison James
23 Ryan Wilkins