Lewis launches Cardiff revival

Cardiff 75 Ebbw Vale 17
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The Independent Online
Emyr Lewis announced his belated arrival to the new season at Cardiff Arms Park last night with just the sort of display you would expect from someone nicknamed "The Bull".

The 41-times capped No 8, whose participation in the summer tour of Australia, was ended prematurely by a back injury, was at the heart of a Cardiff performance that suggested they have put the worst behind them.

After a nightmare opening to the National League of three straight defeats, they followed up their narrow squeak of a victory at Treorchy with an emphatic 11-try rout of Ebbw Vale, earning themselves two bonus points in the process.

Cardiff's running game operated sweetly with wings Steve Ford and Simon Hill the main beneficiaries with hat-tricks, Ford extending his overall league record to 69 tries.

But it was Lewis who took the opportunity to ensure he should not become the forgotten man of the Welsh back row with a towering display packed with pace, aggression and intelligent angles of running.

There was more of the same from the centre Leigh Davies, enjoying by far his most influential game since joining Cardiff in the summer, with stand-off Jonathan Davies also in commanding form.

Ebbw Vale, quick around the park, never ran up the white flag but ultimately had no answer to a Cardiff side who have at last kick-started their season into action.

The man to initiate that revival was the lock Derwyn Jones, who responded to being dropped by Wales yesterday by winning a stream of line-out possession. With his 6ft 10in frame, he claimed the first three line-outs, centre Mike Hall being the first to profit after just two minutes.

If the first half was reasonable close, the second was virtually all Cardiff as they ran in eight of their tries with a performance that will have done their confidence a power of good.

They played with a positive intent from start to finish, and if they can continue in this vein, they could yet have a major say in the marathon race to the league title.

Cardiff: J Thomas; S Ford, M Hall, L Davies, S Hill; J Davies (capt), R Howley; A Lewis (P Booth, 27-39 and 75), J Humphreys, L Mustoe, J Wakeford, D Jones, M Bennett, E Lewis (L Jones, 64), J Ringer (E Lewis, 67).

Ebbw Vale: D Worgan; A Harries, C Price, M Boys, S Marshall; B Hayward, G Bisp; A Phillips, S Jones, M Sibthorpe (D Bell, 62), C Billen, L Banks, P Pook, J Williams (B Watkins, 20; J Lillas, 20), K Jones (capt; B Watkins, 3-9).

Referee: G Simmonds (Taffs Well).