Cardiff leave by back door

Treorchy 22 Cardiff 23
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The Independent Online
A win may be a win, but not even two vital league points could gloss over another sub-standard performance by Cardiff.

In the new professional age of rugby union, what has gone on at the Arms Park club since the season started is simply not good enough. The coach, Terry Holmes, might be able to point to a seemingly never-ending injury list, but when you've been able to spend up to pounds 250,000 on recruiting players during the summer, and have 20 full internationals in your squad, it is difficult to summon up sympathy.

Not that Cardiff are used to being offered sympathy from their Welsh rivals. They are the club that everyone loves to hate, and beat. Treorchy, the only team below Cardiff in the First Division table, certainly had their chance to extend their visitors' miserable start to the season to four straight defeats. Their third try of the second half, by the flanker Daffydd Owen, enabled them to take the lead for the first time with only five minutes left to play. It seemed all over for Cardiff, another humiliating defeat to help turn their drama into a crisis.

All the home side had to do was sit tight, not make any mistakes and they would surely have moved off the bottom. Instead, the full-back, Rob Morgan, had a rush of blood when confronted by his opposite number, Ian Jones, in open play and laid him low with a late tackle after he had kicked ahead.

The referee, Paul Adams, gave a penalty 15m in from touch in the home 22 and Jonathan Davies stepped up to save the day for Cardiff with his second penalty goal. The referee had earlier awarded Cardiff a penalty try 11 minutes into the second half. The home pack had been shunted over their line as the Cardiff eight attempted a pushover try, and they collapsed in a heap.

The referee had no hesitation in running to the posts to give a penalty try. The home fans felt the Treorchy pack should have been given the benefit of the doubt after just one shove and that the scrum should have been set again. In the end, that try proved crucial to the outcome of the match: it helped to save Cardiff from going under and condemned Treorchy's fate.

Both clubs can only get better. In Cardiff's case they will have to or there could be a few football-style sackings before the season's end.

Treorchy: Tries K Jones, Wintle, Owen; Conversions Booth 2; Penalty Booth. Cardiff: Tries Taylor, Booth, Penalty try; Conversion Davies; Penalties Davies 2.

Treorchy: R Morgan; J Riggs, P Jones, R Sheppeard, R Wintle; W Booth, C Hammans; K Matthews, A Thomas (capt), M Thomas, J Cicero, A Freeman, D Owen, K Jones, J Collins.

Cardiff: I Jones; S Ford, G Jones, L Davies, S Hill; J Davies, J Hewlett; P Booth, A Lewis, B Fisher, J Wakeford, D Jones, M Bennett, H Taylor (capt, J Ringer 32), O Williams.

Referee: P Adams (Ebbw Vale).