Rugby Union: Courageous Cardiff

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The Independent Online
Llanelli. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

Cardiff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

CARDIFF, who had a player sent off after five minutes for stamping, and who had not scored a try against Swansea, Neath or Llanelli this season, fought back from a first-half deficit of 19-3 to snatch a remarkable last-minute try and draw a game which both teams so desperately wanted to win.

Perhaps they wanted to win too much, for at times you needed a war correspondent to report on all the hostilities which occurred in this bad-

tempered game. These two teams, containing eight players of the Wales team to play Ireland next Saturday, seven from Llanelli and one from Cardiff, flew at each other knowing that defeat would end all hope of winning the Heineken League.

The game seemed virtually over after eight minutes as Llanelli not only scored 10 points from a Colin Stevens penalty and the conversion of a good try by the centre Simon Davies but also enjoyed a huge advantage after the Cardiff lock Tony Rees was sent off for stamping in the ruck.

To compound the behaviour the stamping was on the brilliant young Welsh No 8, Scott Quinnell, indispensable for the Welsh cause. Another worry was the departure of his international team-mate the flanker Mark Perego with a bruised knee after 57 minutes. Perego is expected, however, to be fit for Saturday.

Incident followed incident, and at one point two Welsh team members, Quinnell and Ricky Evans, lay prostrate. The Cardiff flanker Hemi Taylor was then severely warned for a late tackle on Rupert Moon, who stopped the game for an injury to his back.

The penalties flowed, and Colin Stevens kicked three more, while Moon left the field to have five stitches inserted under his eye, rejoining the fray shortly after half-time.

After the interval the courageous Cardiff side, who had consistently contributed the best rugby, took the game to Llanelli, with Davies kicking three more penalty goals.

Llanelli achieved nothing outside the dog-fights of the rucks and mauls and it was justice when Taylor got over from a tap penalty in the dying seconds and Davies converted.

Llanelli: Try S Davies; Penalties Stephens 4; Conversion Stephens. Cardiff: Try Taylor; Penalties Davies 4; Conversion Davies.

Llanelli: I Wyn-Jones; I Evans, S Davies, M Wintle, W Proctor; C Stephens, R Moon (capt); R Evans, P Young, H Williams-Jones, P Davies, A Copsey, M Perego (G Jones, 57), S Quinnell, L Jones.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, M Hall (capt), C Laity, S Hill; A Davies, A Moore; A Lewis, J Humphreys, L Mustoe, T Rees, D Jones, H Taylor, O Williams, C Mills.

Referee: W Bevan (WRU).