Rugby Union: Davies applies the kick-start

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The Independent Online
Cardiff. . . .41

Pontypool. . .16

THANK heaven for outside-halves. Without the pair of them here, the Arms Park crowd might have snoozed off for long stretches. Instead, they injected enough adrenalin to keep the game alive when it threatened to die on its feet.

Cardiff's Adrian Davies, above all, kept the club in sight of the championship leaders, Llanelli. With lethargy all around him, he showed flair and imagination, none less than when he sold a string of outrageous dummies to break free from the tightest corner to open the scoring with a try. He then coolly built up a 21-point tally in kicks.

And opposite him for Pontypool, Mark Ring showed occasional flashes of genius for which he was famed when he used to wear the Cardiff shirt. He dropped two seemingly casual goals to make the point. But he alone could not stop the Cardiff juggernaut when it finally found the right gear in the second half.

Davies - inevitably - was the man in the driving seat when the home side decided really to get going. After a shambles of a first half, he opened the second with a swift break down the blind-side. The forwards took the ball on and the outside-half was of course on hand to finish it all off.

That finally opened the floodgates and convinced the pack that they did not need to confine themselves to bit parts. The lock, Stuart Roy - not the most elegant runner - lumbered and barged his way over twice. Phil Sedgemore, a prop, simply fell on the ball for a third forward try.

On paper, a tally of seven tries looks scintillating, but it flattered. There was not much to savour.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, A Palfrey, C Laity, S Hill; A Davies, H Harries; K Matthews, J Humphreys, P Sedgemore, A Rees, S Roy, H Stone, H Taylor (capt), M Budd (P Kawulok, 67 min).

Pontypool: A Carr; S White, M Taylor, P Taylor, B Taylor; M Ring, C Bridges; M Crowley, N Meek, L Mustoe, N Jones, R Goodey (capt), V Davies, M Spiller, S Crosby (G Taylor, 74 min).

Referee: R Yeman (WRU)

Scores: Davies (try, 5 min 5-0); Ring (drop goal, 10 min, 5-3); Davies (pen, 13 min, 8-3); Ring (drop goal, 18 min 8-6); Ring (pen, 28 min 8-9); Sedgemore / Davies (Try / Con, 41 min, 15-9); Davies (try, 44 min, 20-9); Roy / Davies (try / con, 62 min, 27-9); Roy / Davies (try / con, 64 min, 34-9); Laity / Davies (try / con, 70 min; 41-9); White / Ring (try / con, 78 min, 41-16).