Cardiff 31 Neath 19

By Ian Tabor | 24/02/2018

Cardiff gained a bonus point against the Premiership’s bottom team but it took until the second half for the game to spark to life.

The first half was very forgettable. On a cold crisp morning with the sun shining an attacking game looked on the cards, but it didn’t transpire that way. The ball seemed to spend more time on the floor than it did in anyone’s hands. Scrums seemed to be the dominant phase of play. Cardiff did have the upper hand in the scrum but weren’t able to really make it pay. The first try came from a scrum though. When the scrum went down the ball went through a few pick and goes before Rory Pitman crashed over. Gareth Thompson added the extras - this,incidentally, was Cardiff's 1,000th try in the Premiership

That looked to set Cardiff on their way but a series of errors allowed Neath back into the game and when the Blue & Blacks forgot to tackle, scrum half Chris Morgans was able to tip-toe along the touchline before cutting infield to score under the posts, Ed Howley adding the conversion. But that was all the first half had to offer as the crowd headed for the tea-stand to warm up.

The second half gave the fans who had braved the cold something to warm them as Cardiff made a great start to it. A break by Harry Griffiths was carried on by Adam Jones. Lewis Jones headed for the corner but when he was brought down the ball was stripped by Neath. But there wasn’t a Black shirt to collect it and Dan Fish was able to touch it down, Thompson landed a great wide conversion.

Neath though would not give up and when they ran the ball wide wing James Roberts was able to score in the corner. Howley replicated Thompson’s touchline conversion with one of his own to bring the sides level again. Shortly after the Blue & Black outside half gave his side an advantage they were not to lose as he landed a long range penalty. And they gave themselves a bit of a cushion when Man Of The Match Pitman crossed for his second try. Thompson was again on target with the conversion and ensured the Cardiff win with a great individual try. The Blue & Blacks were awarded a penalty and his quick thinking saw him round the defence to score a try he converted.

Neath did get a consolation try in the last few minutes as Leon Ward crossed. But it was too late for the Welsh All Blacks as the home side saw out the bonus point win.

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