2006/2007 Principality Premiership
Cardiff 36 v 24 Llanelli
09 September 2006 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

Match Report

Cardiff 36 Llanelli 24

Craig Evans stole the show at a sunlit Cardiff Arms Park as the Blue & Blacks recorded a morale-boosting first win of the Principality Premiership campaign

The stylish fly-half finished with 16 points of his own, courtesy of howitzer goal-kicking and opportunist backing-up for his try but, more importantly, he again displayed serious controlling tendencies in the pivotal position. His new half-back partnership with Darren Allinson was a notable success with the young scrum-half, still only 18, himself having a fine game with his slick service and exceptional touch kicking from narrow angles in defence.

The good news doesn't stop there because for the first 20 minutes Gavin Lucas, Gareth Gravell and the industrious and unsung Chris Jones put on a devastating display of back row play. Gravell claimed the first two tries. The first, after Evans had given his side the lead with a monster penalty goal, came when the pack drove forward from a close-range lineout and the skipper claimed the touchdown.

But it was the next two scores that had the appreciative Arms Park crowd on their feet. Lucas exploded away from the tail of a lineout over 40 metres out and provided the final pass for Gravell to score with the rest of the forwards piling in behind him like rampaging bulls.

Then the ex-Pontypool skipper (and celebrated Rumney resident) was again the key man as the ball was spun wide for Daniel Gravell to cut through and, when the ball ran loose, Evans was on hand for the touchdown and another soaring conversion from the edge of touch.

Unfortunately Lucas was forced to depart with a hamstring strain shortly afterwards but the Blue & Blacks were already tasting potential victory. Though Evans missed with a couple of long-range penalties and a try was conceded to Dan Evans when his side were reduced to 14 men, the half ended on a high with another great move to the left and then recycled ball back to midfield had Geraint Morris taking a leaf out of the back row's book with a line-busting charge of his own and an inch perfect pass for Richard Jones to touch down under the posts. Evans' fourth conversion completed an interval lead of 31-5. 

The second half was less one-sided. Llanelli gave notice of their intentions with a fine try of their own by wing Craig Richards which Gareth Bowen converted. Cardiff, though, were still running from all areas of the field with Chris Stamatakis making a big impression in the loose. Lineout ball was less satisfactory but the cutting edge in the backs was still very evident.

Thomas James provided a perfect example of the outside half-break and delayed pass for Elgan Jones to cross for the only try of the half. In the final stages Cardiff undoubtedly went off the boil but Llanelli contributed fully to the entertainment. Two tries in as many minutes through Richards and Ian Jones, the second converted by Bowen, gave them a glimmer of hope but there were no further alarms for the Blue & Blacks who, in the end, were worth every point of their winning margin. 

Official : Phil Fear (Wales)

Cardiff Llanelli