Despite a valiant effort from the young Llanelli team, the experience and territorial advantage from Cardiff were enough to secure a bonus point win at Parc y Scarlets. This saw the Rags move to second in the Indigo Group Premiership table.
Cardiff were on the attack during the opening stages, with an early penalty kick for the corner. The subsequent drive off the line-out tested the home defence, but sterling work from the Llanelli forwards secured the scrum.
A break in midfield from Louie Hennessey brought play back to deep within the hosts’ twenty-two, securing a penalty. Dan Fish opted to kick for the corner rather than posts and despite great initial defence from Llanelli to halt the rolling maul, Cardiff were able to spread the ball. Great hands saw the ball off-loaded to Theo Cabango who dived over in the corner. Jack Maynard missed the conversion.
Llanelli 0-5 Cardiff
A charge down offered Llanelli the chance to counter but after being awarded a penalty, Cardiff again opted to kick for the corner. A further penalty gave the visitors a second bite of the cherry, but Llanelli managed to steal. Unfortunately, a combination of a poor clearing kick and the line-out not going to plan saw Cardiff with a scrum deep in the Llanelli twenty-two and Cabango was on hand to score his brace. Again, the conversion attempt sailed wide.
Llanelli 0-10 Cardiff
A break in midfield from Ellis Thomas saw Llanelli into the Cardiff twenty-two. He was brought down but with the penalty advantage, the hosts opted to kick for the corner. A second penalty again saw Llanelli turn down a kick at goal. Following an effective rolling maul, the ball was recycled well, but crunching tackles from the Blues and Blacks held Llanelli out. As the penalty count in the red zone against Cardiff mounted, and the first half reached its climax, again Llanelli chose corner over posts. Lovely hands saw the ball passed the length of the field before Amir Walji crossed in the corner for Llanelli’s first try. The conversion was missed.
Llanelli 5-10 Cardiff
Llanelli started the half strongly with a break in midfield halted only by being tugged back by the jersey. Phillips kicked downfield, but Cardiff were awarded a penalty and the chance to clear.
An up and under from Dan Fish was neatly gathered by Llanelli, but conceding a scrum and then a penalty saw Cardiff kick for the corner again. Their maul stream rollered over the whitewash for try number three, with Alun Rees claiming the score. Maynard added the extras.
Llanelli 5-17 Cardiff
A huge clearing kick from Joshua Hathaway took play to half way but the ball was lost forward. With ball in hand, Llanelli looked creative in attack, but were unable to effectively finish off the moves.
Despite a further break in midfield from Hathaway, Cardiff stole possession and were successful in gaining the bragging rights aerially Their fourth try again resulted from a penalty kick to the corner, with Evan Yardley at the base of the maul to claim the bonus point score as it rumbled over the whitewash. Maynard was off-target in his attempt to add the extras.
Llanelli 5-22 Cardiff
Maynard also missed the first penalty kick attempt shortly after, with the ball hitting the posts, as the visitors aimed to extend their lead. But, the young Llanelli team showed true character as even with the game out of reach, they continued to counter attack from deep, but a slightly forward pass ended the move that would have seen Hathaway clear.
FINAL SCORE – Llanelli 5-22 Cardiff
T: Cabango (2) Rees, Yardley
Report by Helen Davies