Rugby Union: Burke shows the way

Llandovery 22 Cardiff 40
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The Independent Online
LLANDOVERY MAY have won the pre-match battle, but it was Cardiff who won the contest that mattered at Church Bank last night.

These two sides had originally been due to play their Swalec Cup fourth round tie at the Arms Park on 19 December. However, Cardiff were unable to fulfil the fixture and offered Llandovery a series of alternative dates, none of which were acceptable to the west Wales outfit, who wanted the game switched to their ground.

Initially this also proved unacceptable to Cardiff, but they relented, albeit reluctantly, with chief executive Gareth Davies launching a fierce pre-match attack against Llandovery.

It was against this bitter background that the game went ahead last night with Cardiff fielding 10 internationals. The early exchanges suggested it was going to be a comfortable ride for the visitors, with Andrew Lewis and Simon Hill both crossing in the opening eight minutes, winger Hill rounding off a sweeping 60m movement.

When Irish international stand-off Paul Burke sliced through for two more tries to put Cardiff 28-3 ahead after 24 minutes, a rout seemed likely.

But to their credit, Cardiff's Division One hosts raised their game with former Wales stand-off Aled Williams and flanker Dan Stead touching down to cut the half-time deficit to 13 points.

Cardiff steadied the ship after the break with Owain Williams being driven over by the pack. However, they had to wait until five minutes from time to score their sixth and final try through Leigh Davies, with their highly- committed opponents having the last word through their centre Emrys Evans.

Llandovery: Tries Evans, Stead, A Williams; Conversions Hancox 2; Penalties Hancox. Cardiff: Tries Burke 2, L Davies, S Hill, A Lewis, O Williams; Conversions: Burke 5.

Llandovery: S Hancox; A Rowlands, E Evans, H Thomas (T Lewis, 70), M Jones; A Williams, Danny Williams (J Roberts, 72); M Monaghan (P Jones, 61), J Hughes (H James, 72), Dorian Williams, M Morgan, H Morgan (J Westgarth, 48), M Lewis (capt), D Stead (C Davies, 49), C Hughes.

Cardiff: C Morgan; S Hill, L Davies, M Wintle (M Hall, 40), L Botham; P Burke, R Jones; A Lewis (capt, S John, 48), D Geraghty, L Mustoe (D Young, 54), S Moore, K Stewart, O Williams, P Wheeler (P Young, 52), J Tait.

Referee: N Williams (Neath).

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