Rugby Union: Cardiff deepen gloom for Scarlets

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Cardiff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

Llanelli. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

THERE seems to be no end to Llanelli's woes. Not only are they beset by financial problems, but the loss through retirement and defection of five international back-row forwards was yesterday compounded by their third defeat in a row, during which they lost Ieuan Evans with a dreadful injury.

Although Cardiff won at a canter, neither side could be proud of the sort of rugby they played. The game was performed almost in slow motion, and rarely has a team taken as many wrong options as Cardiff. Tries went begging when a steadier hand at outside-half and more direct running in the three- quarters could have brought them a hatful.

Jonathan Davies, formerly of Llanelli and now of Warrington, was a spectator, and an unimpressed one at that. Nevertheless, Cardiff are in high spirits, now restored to the top of the Heineken League on try- count over Bridgend.

The match began with a fierce confrontation between the front rows, but with Cardiff making most of the running. Llanelli took the lead with a penalty by Colin Stephens, but Cardiff quickly seized the initiative.

Twice, Ieuan Evans was almost away, but on the second occasion was brought down heavily. He was taken off with a broken fibula and thereafter Llanelli lost much of their composure.

In injury time, a break by Mike Rayer and good handling by Emyr Lewis and Steve Ford, who was brought down short of the line, saw Huw Bevan pick up and score an unconverted try to make it 8-3 at half-time.

Llanelli held on until midway through the second half, when Adrian Davies kicked a penalty, and three tries followed in seven minutes. Lewis, a recent recruit from Llanelli, broke three tackles to score under the posts and three minutes later Rayer made another superb break down the left and gave an overhead pass to Simon Hill, who was caught on the line. The Llanelli pack arrived to drive over, David Joseph claiming an unconverted try.

Lewis then found Booth from a set scrum and the scrum- half broke before feeding Steve Ford, who crossed in the corner. In injury time Paul Jones scored a consolation try.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, M Hall (capt), C Laity, S Hill; A Davies, A Booth; D Joseph, H Bevan, L Mustoe, D Jones, S Roy, H Taylor, E Lewis, O Williams.

Llanelli: I Jones; I Evans, N Boobyer, N Davies, W Proctor; C Stephens, R Moon (capt); R Evans, R McBryde, H Williams-Jones, P Davies, L Williams, P Jones, A MacPherson, A Varney.

Referee: G Simmonds (WRU).

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