Cardiff old boys win with second wind

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Swansea 9 Cardiff 20

While Kevin Bowring seeks to get the best out of his young guns for Wales, he would do well not to turn his back totally on the old guard who have served their country during equally thin times in the not so distant past.

This gripping sixth-round Swalec Cup tie was like a trip down memory lane. There was the Swansea skipper, Stuart Davies, doing his best to get to grips with the current Welsh No 8, Hemi Taylor; the 37-year-old Keith Colclough showing Cardiff's new Welsh prop Andrew Lewis a trick or two in the front row and Mike Hall revealing he has lost none of his quality in the centre.

Adrian Davies proved the battle for the Welsh No 10 jersey should not merely be confined to Arwel Thomas and Neil Jenkins, while Nigel Walker returned to the big stage with a match-winning try. Mike Rayer shone at full-back for Cardiff and Jonathan Davies had everyone cheering his 35- metre drop goal.

The end product was revenge for Cardiff, who lost 16-9 in extra-time to Swansea last year, and only the second home Cup defeat for the All Whites, the first was 15 years ago against Pontypool.

What did for Swansea was not winning the toss. They enjoy playing into the wind in the first-half, yet instead found themselves striving to build up some sort of lead to hang on to.

They failed miserably. Cardiff started well, took the lead midway through the first half with an Adrian Davies penalty and then somehow managed to hold their line intact before the interval.

The home team had to wait until the final kick of the half for Aled Williams to level the scores, with his first success from five attempts.

The advantage was definitely with the league champions at the turn. With the elements in their favour they advanced their cause with a second Adrian Davies penalty and drop goal before conjuring up the only try of the game.

A Hall burst to the narrow side of a scrum on the home 22 paved the way for Walker to announce his return with a 64th-minute try and Jonathan Davies' beautifully struck drop goal sent the cup holders out of the tournament.

Swansea: Penalties Williams 3. Cardiff: Try Walker; Penalties A Davies 3; Drop goal A Davies, J Davies.

Swansea: R Boobyer; W Leach (L Davies, 21), M Taylor, D Weatherley, Simon Davies; A Williams, Robert Jones (Rhodri Jones, 10-13); C Loader, G Jenkins, K Colclough, P Arnold, S Moore, A Reynolds, Stuart Davies (capt), R Appleyard (C Charvis, 46).

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Hill, M Hall, J Davies, N Walker; A Davies, A Moore; A Lewis, J Humphreys, L Mustoe, J Wakeford, D Jones, E Lewis (O Williams, 51), H Taylor (capt), V Davies.

Referee: C Thomas (Neath).