RGC 29 Cardiff RFC 52
Eirias, Saturday 15th January 2022
Cardiff started the game on the front foot testing the RGC line, but the homeside were proving disciplined around the breakdown and on a couple of occasions came away with crucial penalties to ease the pressure early on.
Dion Jones continued from the previous game against Llanelli with his kicking boots and opened the scoring with a penalty after 13 minutes.
The Gogs were making good inroads and the composure to recycle the ball was being rewarded with some territory in the visitor’s half. The went for the attacking lineouts on a couple of occasions putting Cardiff under pressure and it was no shock when the maul finally drove over with Rhodri King claiming the touchdown. Jones converted.
This was a good spell of rugby from RGC, but they were unable to continue the momentum as Cardiff looked to get back into the game quickly.
The next couple of minutes were a whirlwind on the field and confusing off it. Centre Matt Buchanan came on as replacement for Rhys Williams, but Williams has just been shown a yellow card for a high tackle and Cardiff were given a penalty try and Buchanan and Williams both found themselves on the sidelines.
From the restart Cardiff went straight down the pitch with Cameron Winnet and the winger went over in the corner, with RGC players claiming he was in touch before scoring. Beetham hit the extras and the visitors took the lead. It was a 14-point swing in 2 minutes with Cardiff also having a man advantage for 10 minutes.
The scoreboard then ticked over again with centre Ryan Wilkins finishing a good attack. Beetham’s kick hit the posts.
RGC again went through some good phases, with Efan Jones lining up strike runners Danny Cross and Dion Jones making yards before Jordan Jones crashed over for the try. Dion Johns was successful again with the boot.
The end to end game continued and Cardiff claimed a bonus point score before halftime when hooker Alun Rees was at the bottom of the pack when it pushed over the line before Beetham extended his sides lead making it 17-26 at the break.
Cardiff again opened the half with the attacks, with Dan Fish hitting a superb spiral kick to test the RGC backline. The visitors claimed another try when the pack again got moving all the way over the line for try number 5, and again Beetham split the posts.
It was becoming a loose game, and Dan’s Fish was hitting some kicks into some key places. which pinned RGC back on their heels.
Player of the match Dion Jones scored a try to get the Eirias crowd on their feet when he started a run in his own half and kept on going all the way to the line. He also converted the try.
Tries 6 and 7 came from Cardiff’s forwards with Morgan Allen and Alex Everett getting them. Beetham was on target with one of the conversions.
Rhys Tudor and Dion Jones look to get some yards and hit some hard runs, but the Cardiff defence were proving solid in the middle of the field.
As the game went on Cardiff’s defence proved more dogged, and when RGC did work towards the visitors 22m line the visitors came away with the penalty. Perhaps RGC were forcing the play and runners were becoming isolated, instead of the more composed play that had given them a couple of tries earlier in the game.
Dan Fish opened the pitch with a quick break before Tom Hoppe followed in support, but Sam Rogers made a good tackle to stop him in his tracks.
The experience of Fish was clear to see as the game edged on, and if it wasn’t his boot then it was his running that was causing the damage.
Cardiff broke the 50-point mark when Nathan Hudd ran under the posts and Beetham made it 52 points for his side.
The game did end with an RGC try as they powered over in the corner with Sam Williams getting the Bonus Point score for the last play in a game that had plenty of tries, but not the result for RGC.
Head Coach Ceri Jones looked back at the game, and some key points in his sides performance “Credit to Cardiff I thought both sides looked to play with endeavour, perhaps to our detriment in the 2nd half.
I thought we got caught in the headlights at times, especially after the penalty try with the yellow and injury at the same time, and then they scored again. We didn’t regroup quickly and took us time to get back into the game.
I was disappointed with a couple of soft tries we gave away, especially around the maul defence.
Steve Law talked about his side being hungry after the Quins defeat, and that was seen today, to give you an example we won the ball on their throw but then they recovered when the ball was on the floor. They were superb at the transition and that made a huge difference, and something we have to look at.
We need to look at ourselves and do better, Cardiff will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season and that is where we want to be…but we need to reach that level by performing well.
As a group, we now look ahead to Pontypridd, and it is a team we know well after preparing to play them several times but not actually playing them. Working on our maul defence and the transitions, we can’t afford to be off the game against Pontypridd so we will focus this week”.