2009/2010 SWALEC Cup
Llanelli 46 v 25 Cardiff
18 April 2010 - St Helen's, Swansea

Match Report

Llanelli 46 Cardiff 25

Sometimes there simply is no hiding place when a team is so far off the pace that it's a case of holding on for a respectable defeat rather than being submerged in a points' avalanche as well - and this was a classic case of the genre. Llanelli, playing with 14 men for a quarter of the match, outscored Cardiff by six tries to three to deservedly advance to yet another cup final.

The Blue & Blacks started well enough, disrupting their opponents' line-out, working neatly through the phases, and posting a couple of early Gareth Davies penalty goals for a six-point lead after 12 minutes.

It took Llanelli all of 16 minutes to reach Cardiff's 22 for the first time but when they did they struck with clinical efficiency, prop Shaun Hopkins flopping over near the left corner from a catch-and-drive penalty lineout. Fly-half Steven Shingler converted from wide out and after he added a 40-metre penalty four minutes later Llanelli never looked back.

By half-time flanker Aaron Shingler from a 5-metre scrum (and was soon yellow carded) and Wales under-21 scrum-half Gareth Davies with a clear run-in added two more touchdowns, both converted by the fly-half who then rubbed salt in the wounds by stroking over a towering penalty from halfway.

Trailing 6-27 and with their injury toll mounting Cardiff's cup hopes were already a distant dream as they trudged off for the interval. Sensing what might happen in the next 40 minutes there was an undeniable temptation to look the other way or to metaphorically 'hide behind the furniture', It was unlikely to be pretty.  Sure enough, the torture soon resumed on the restart as number 8 Ben Morgan, a handful throughout the game, powered over after a patient build-up and again the immaculate Shingler added the exras from the edge of touch.... 6-34 against 14 men.

With the travelling fans fearing the worst, the Blue & Blacks, to their credit, launched a mini-comeback and that dubious consolation of 'respectability' on the scoreboard fleetingly made an appearance with Nathan Rees touching down twice in six minutes. Gareth Davies converted the first and with Llanelli again reduced to 14 men he then darted over at the posts, popped over a quick conversion and suddenly the deficit was only nine points.

Cardiff should have been rueing the decision to go for a scrum rather than a simple penalty goal six minutes earlier; then, who knows what might have happened.

But, chasing the game, they paid the price that invariably occurs in such situations. As they moved the ball to the openside in Llanelli's 22, centre Nic Reynolds intercepted and raced 80 metres for Shingler to again convert. The game was already in added time but as the clock kicked on another ambitious chip out of defence was again gobbled up by Reynolds who raced over in the far corner.

The game had finished with 15 minutes of uncontested scrums and with the two Dans, Matthews and Preece, injured and others clearly on their last legs (no one could fault the team's effort) the only question that remained was whether the Blue & Blacks could muster 22 players for their return to the same venue on Wednesday evening for the final Premiership engagement against Swansea


Official : Hugh Watkins (Wales)

Llanelli Cardiff