Cardiff Under 16s started their season off with an emphatic win over the Dragons North U16 at the Arms Park last night.
But the first half was not all one way traffic. A very competitive Dragons North side made it hard work for the home team. Add to that a series of dropped passes and the half time score of 5-0 is explained.
Not that it was all mistakes. There were several opportunities for both sides. Within two minutes the Cardiff backline was in action and a sweeping move was only stopped by a deliberate knock on by the visitors. They too had their moments. A break by lively winger Ewan Weaver got them close but outstanding defence by Ioan Cooper thwarted the attack.
Cardiff then had their first glimpse of the Dragons line. It was created by a steal on the floor by Morgan Oliver. He made his way into the visitors twenty-two before handing the ball on to Rhys Gentles. The centre crashed over the line but was held up and a scrum awarded. It was from that set piece that Cardiff got their first points. Captain Evan Lloyd picked up at the base and had the power to go over from five metres out. That try went unconverted but was just reward for the endeavour the home side had shown.
The second half though was a different story. It too Cardiff a few minutes to get going but when they did they proved to be unstoppable. The second try of the game came after a Lloyd break. The No8 went rampaging up the field and when he was stopped and the ball recycled soft hand put full back Cooper over. That was followed swiftly by a brace for Gentles. His first came after another Lloyd break, this time the centre was on his shoulder to receive the scoring pass. His second was a great team effort as backs and forwards combined to push Cardiff up the pitch. The centre being the beneficiary for a 22-0 advantage as the try was converted by Jamie Howells.
In between those two tries Cardiff should have had another. Scrum half Morgan Oliver charged down a clearance kick and Ethan White picked up the ball and crossed only to be harshly adjudged to have been off side. Another great break by Howells should have led to further points but it was the Dragons who got themselves on the board, this time their wings combined to send Johnny Painter over for their only score of the game.
From there it was one way traffic as Cardiff took complete control. The captain was at the heart of everything the home side were doing and one of his by now trade mark breaks set up Oliver James for a try that Gethin Rosser converted. Cardiff by now had made several substitutions and they were to make their mark as they set up Benji Williams for his first try with 5 minutes left. Nearly straight from the restart he was on the score board again. This time spotting a gap, powering through it and had the pace to see off the defence. Rosser converted one but it was left to the captain to have the final say. Cardiff had expertly worked their way to the Dragons line and when the ball was recycled the No8 was where he had been all night, in the right place, to plough over, leaving the referee to blow for no side and a score-line of Cardiff Under 16 53 Dragons North Under 16s 5.
Next week the team travels to Tenby RFC ( Wed 7:15pm) for a match up with the Scarlets West.