Cardiff
2005/2006 Principality Premiership
Cardiff 15 v 20 Swansea
11 February 2006 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Swansea

Match Report

Cardiff 15 Swansea 20

Cardiff have developed the knack of losing matches from a winning position into a fine art but against Swansea it reached new heights - or to be more precise sunk to the depths of despair.

On the face of it surrendering a 24-point lead at Llandovery a fortnight ago might still appear the greatest banana skin but in reality the performance against the Whites, with an 8-0 scoreline after barely as many minutes as a precursor to overwhelming domination of territory and possession, was by far the worst example of a game thrown away.

If the Blue & Blacks had finished off a fraction of the many try scoring opportunities that were created in this game then the visitors would have been despatched long before the excruciating final minutes. Having wasted several chances in open play in the first half the team adopted Plan B after the interval, essentially a fairly impressive example of close mauling and driving by the pack.

But in the end they were hoist by their own petard, gifting two tries to Swansea at crucial stages. Leading 8-6 early in the second half, wave after wave of driving attacks had faltered within inches of the opposition line and when the ball was finally spun wide ex-Cardiff centre Jonny Vaughton gobbled up a loose pass and jogged 90 metres to the distant posts. A 14-point turn around that might yet be the death knell for Cardiff's efforts to rescue what is becoming an increasingly disastrous campaign.

Yet this side lack nothing in commitment. Now trailing 8-13 another prolonged period camped in Swansea's 22 followed. The reward came in the 72nd minute when the pack at last carried the ball all the way to the try line for James Malpas to claim the touchdown. Chris Anderson's conversion regained the lead and as the clock ticked toward added time the long wait for a Premiership victory appeared to be over.

Life is never that straightforward for the Blue & Blacks. With a numbing inevitability Swansea's backs finally created an opening that was gleefully accepted by replacement centre David Watts and Stuart Thomas' second conversion of the afternoon settled another desperate result for Cardiff.

In truth, the game had been won and lost in that unreal first half. Chris Stamatakis, again outstanding, opened the scoring with a try in the sixth minute after a fine break by Elgan Jones.

New fly-half Richard Davies marked an impressive debut with a 40-metre penalty goal in the 11th minute. Shortly after that Malpas made a typically powerful burst for the line but the referee ruled no touchdown under a pile of bodies.

Swansea's only score of the opening 40 minutes was a Stuart Thomas penalty goal. They finished the half with 14 men after Vaughton was sin-binned for a professional foul. Cardiff failed to take advantage in the next 10 minutes. Instead, Thomas kicked another penalty goal and no sooner had Vaughton returned to the fray than his opportunism turned the game.

After that, the unfolding of the second half was little more than a horror show. To complete a miserable afternoon for the Blue & Blacks, skipper Owen Ruttley was carried off with a foot injury that will require an x-ray.

 

Official : Huw F Lewis (Wales)

Cardiff Swansea
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