Llanelli and Cardiff served up an entertaining Sunday afternoon Premiership game at a deserted Parc-Y-Scarlets.
The sparse crowd were treated to nine tries as both side attempted to play rugby in freezing conditions. Cardiff were first on the scoreboard. After a bright start they were the Blue & Blacks were awarded a penalty that Joe Griffin landed from short range. The first try though went to the home side. Flanker Gareth Davies – who was to go on to score a hat-trick - was on the end of a flowing move that saw Llanelli run back a loose clearance kick from the visitors. The home side had created a huge overlap and all that was needed was the final pass. It was given, but there will be some debate in the Cardiff ranks as to how far forward it may have been. Dale Ford added the conversion
Cardiff hit back with a try of their own a few minutes later. Excellent build up play from both backs and forwards had worked them down the field and when it was time to strike the final pick up and drive over was taken on by Campese Ma’afu who scored from short range. Griffin added the extras to put Cardiff back in front. Davies though was having one of those games. Wherever the ball seemed to be so did he and which ever way it bounced it bounced into his hands. As the home side attacked a loose pass went to the floor only to be gathered by Davies and with the defence wring footed he scored near the post to put Llanelli back in the lead. Ford was again on target with the conversion. And it got better for the home side as Jonny Lewis went over late in the first half to extended the lead to 21-13.
The second half was an equally open affair. Dan Thomas was first to cross for the home side shortly after the resumption of play to give Llanelli the four try bonus point . That was quickly followed by the fifth try from Kirby Myhill after some slack tackling by the visitors.
Cardiff didn’t give up, and to their credit they played some entertaining rugby of their own only to be thwarted by several Llanelli infringements. A yellow card for the home side gave Cardiff a man extra that they took advantage of. Several short range penalties were taken quickly by Cardiff ad when Reuben Tucker was stopped just short Jake Cooper-Woolley was on had to crash over for his first Cardiff try. Griffin added the conversion.
That was to be the end of the Blue & Black scoring and things got even worse when Darren Ryan was stretchered off towards the end of the game. Llanelli kept the pressure on the visitors defence and Davies was able to complete his hat-trick before Dion Jones went over for the seventh try right on the final whistle.
Shaun Hopkins , Kirby Myhill , Craig Cross , Adam Powell (c), Lewis Rawlins , Duane Eager , Daniel Thomas , Stuart Leach , Gareth Davies , Jonny Lewis , Kyle Evans , Steffan Hughes , Nic Reynolds , Kristian Phillips , Dale Ford
Replacements: Chris Keenan for Steffan Hughes (17), Dion Jones for Dale Ford (43), Ed Price for Stuart Leach (45), Craig Hawkins for Kirby Myhill (53), Aled Hopkins for Craig Cross (53), Rhys Thomas for Shaun Hopkins (59), Justin James for Gareth Davies (70), Nathan White for Lewis Rawlins (80+)
Gareth Davies (24, 37, 66), Jonny Lewis (40+), Daniel Thomas (42), Kirby Myhill (43), Dion Jones (80+) Conversions: Dale Ford (25, 38, 40+), Chris Keenan (67, 80+)
Cards: 62: Craig Hawkins - Yellow
Campese Ma'afu , Aaron Fowler , Ryan Harford , Nick White , Matthew Screech , Macauley Cook , Ben Roach , Reuben Tucker , Sion Hopkins , Joe Griffin , Shaun Powell (c), Darren Ryan , Matt Smith , Adam Field , Jamie Davies
Replacements: Jake Cooper-Woolley for Reuben Tucker (17), Reuben Tucker for Jake Cooper-Woolley (27), Jake Cooper-Woolley for Ryan Harford (48), Ethan Lewis for Aaron Fowler (49), Alwyn Lee for Nick White (49), James Thomas for Joe Griffin (69), Will Jones for Darren Ryan (73), Bryn Phillips for Sion Hopkins (74), Rhys James for Campese Ma'afu (78), Dan Partridge for Matthew Screech (80+)
Campese Ma'afu (29), Jake Cooper-Woolley (64) Conversions: Joe Griffin (30, 64) Penalties: Joe Griffin (7, 40)
Cards: 16: Ryan Harford - Yellow , 34: Sion Hopkins - Yellow
Referee: Greg Morgan (Wales)