Neath Comeback Not Enough To Claw Back A Gift Wrapped Start
Neath produced a game of two halves as they gifted Cardiff a 27 point headstart, before they got out of first gear and produced a spirited second half comeback to earn themselves a try bonus point.
Cardiff started the game dominant in pretty much every department and stormed into an early lead through a penalty and self converted try from James Whittingham, who chased his own kick with a lovely one handed pick up to cross the white wash.
Cardiff extended their lead on thirteen minutes when full back Will Thomas exploited a mismatch in the Black’s defence to put wing Mike Stephens over in the corner and make the score 15-0.
Stephens added to his try tally seven minutes later, when fed an inside ass, he skipped through a couple of tacklers to make the score 20-0.
Cardiff, fully in the ascendancy, added a further try through scrum half Tom Slater after some strong charges into the soft Neath defence.
Being 27 nil down seemed to act as a catalyst for the Neath team, as for the first time they began to exert some pressure on the Cardiff line. A number of tight carries and driving lineouts forced Cardiff second row, James Goode to infringe at the ruck and earn himself a yellow card. The resultant driving lineout and short snipes created half a yard for Neath scrum half Tom James to stretch out and record Neath’s first points. James Thomas added the extras which brought the half time score to 27-7.
Neath continued this pressure into the start of the second half as Neath’s backs had some quicker possession in which to show their running abilities. Their next try was fully engineered by the blacks backs, starting with an excellent break from Dafydd Howells, popping the ball out of the tackle to Tom James who fed wing Jamie Davies to crash over from close range.
Howells then turned from provider to scorer as a cute midfield move from a line out on the half way, created space for Ashley Evans to feed the Neath full back and bring the score to 27-19.
This newly resurgent Neath were now constantly on the front foot with attacks being expertly orchestrated by Tom James and strong charges from Luke Ford. It was Cardiff however who got the next score as some sloppy lineout work by Neath turned possession over to Cardiff, who drove over from a lineout with hooker Rhys Williams emerging with the ball.
With ten minutes to go and a points difference of fifteen, the win looked beyond Neath’s grasp but they kept at it and produced a bonus point try after an excellent carry under the posts from replacement hooker Ieuan Dobbs. The conversion from James Thomas brought the final score to 34-26.
Head Coach, Pat Horgan commented ‘we may have run out in our Father Christmas outfits today, with the amount of points we gifted Cardiff in that first twenty odd minutes.
I’m obviously pleased with the way we fought ourselves back into the game to at least get a bonus point, but we can’t afford a slow start next week against Bridgend. We’ve got to really focus our attentions in training this week and ensure we put in our best performance of the season against Bridgend in what is a crucial game for us.’
|13th December 2014||2:30 pm||Principality Premiership||2014/15|
|Cardiff Arms Park|