Cardiff
2005/2006 Principality Premiership
Cardiff 33 v 20 Pontypool
08 April 2006 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Pontypool

Match Report

Cardiff 33 Pontypool 20

It's getting better: six wins in seven matches; four of them in the Premiership; a leapfrog from sixteenth to twelfth in the table. Not bad. Still a lot to do, no doubt, but this form and these results throughout the season would have left a very different picture for the Blue & Blacks at the end of the campaign.

Before the team even took the field various sub-plots and late alarms were being resolved. First of all, a late change in the back row. Neil Coles, outstanding against Maesteg in midweek, sidelined by a leg infection. Bad luck. Jonah Lomu, hoping to have a game for the Blue & Blacks, left watching from the terraces. Delayed decision. Martin Jones, on stand-by and dependant on game time for Cardiff Blues in Edinburgh - conflicting information....he may have been on the Murrayfield pitch for ten minutes (newspapers), six minutes (official Celtic League website), 25 minutes (Blues observer)...result - not available.

Then there were the 22 heroes. The centurion, Elgan Jones - 100 games and 40 tries. The game hungry Lee Thomas - by the end 29 points in two matches and four days. Body on the line Nick Hampson - epitomising the all for one commitment of the entire team. Always on his feet Gareth Gravell - stand-in skipper and stand-out player. And so on through Stamo, Trevie, Lemon, Daf and all the rest.

In a matter of weeks, the Blue & Blacks have stood tall in adversity and are continuing to turn their season around. Hopefully there is more to come. As Howard Stone said afterwards, "I am proud of them. We have had a tough season and a tough week but we are still holding our heads up high. Pontypool are a tough outfit, let's not forget that, but our boys stick together well in adversity and that was the situation again today. Now we have to go to Swansea and Glamorgan Wanderers in the next week and do it all again. If we fail, it won't be for the want of trying." 

For the record, Cardiff shot into a 12-point lead inside eight minutes thanks to a brace of tries from Jamie Roberts and a conversion from Lee Thomas. Sam Mills' two penalties for the visitors sandwiched a fine 38-metre goal by Thomas. At 15-6 Cardiff were comfortable. When Thomas added a 50-metre howitzer and converted a try by Chris Anderson they were flying.

The game as a contest was far from over. Mike Poole scored a visitors try, Mills added another soon after the interval and converted both. 25-20 and game on. Then Cardiff finished strongly. Another Thomas penalty goal and a breakaway try by Dafydd Hewitt. A good win, a momentum maintained - and a team needing all our support - and deserving of it - through thick and thin until the end of the season. 

Official : Nigel Owens (Wales)

Cardiff Pontypool
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