Neath took the spoils in the first round of Tier two matches at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
In a game that offered little for the sparse crowd the first half failed to spark much interest. Both sides tried to play at pace but with a strong wind swirling around the ground controlling the ball was difficult. It took a quarter of the game before the first points of the game. Cardiff were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck, Ed Howley landed the kick. The Blue & Blacks were level two minutes later when a similar offence allowed Gareth Thompson to slot the kick. But that was the end of the scoring for the first half as it became a game of kick tennis. Neither side gained an advantage as they went in 3 all.
The crowd hoped for a better second half and it looked as if it would come as both sides stepped the pace. Cardiff mounted a series of attacks but each time the defences held firm. The Blue & Blacks got their noses in front with another Thompson penalty but that was cancelled out but one from Howley four minutes later. It was at that point the game changed as Neath were reduced to fourteen. Usually that results in the side with the numerical advantage adding to their points tally. And that’s the way it seemed to be going with Thompson’s third penalty. But straight from the restart Cardiff dropped the ball and then failed to drop on the loose ball. Callum Davies was first to it for Neath and when he was stopped a few metres short, Jordan Collier was on hand to go over.
And the Welsh All Blacks increased the lead when a sweeping move that involved most of the backline sent Howley down the wing. His final pass to former Blue & Black Geraint Llewellyn sent the win over in the corner. Howley converted both tries and the Neath lead was more than one score. Cardiff threw everything at the visitors but to no avail as the defence and a lack of ball control could not be converted into points. Neath had won four out of the four games played this season and Cardiff must move on to the next challenge at home to Swansea next Friday.