Rugby Union: Davies provides a master class

Cardiff 60 Treorchy 22
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The Independent Online
Jonathan Davies made such an impact on this match that it was hard to believe that Wales value him no higher than a place on the international bench.

Just as mysterious was the fact that Lee Jarvis earned the Man Of The Match award when clearly the nomination should have gone to the man who broke Treorchy's heart and will.

Assuredly Treorchy had few doubts about who was responsible for their downfall. Having led twice, the Rhondda team were beginning to fancy their chances when Davies woke from his slumbers to manufacture a try for Simon Hill right out of his own copybook of fly-half skills.

With Jarvis converting it was a critical moment, pushing Cardiff into a 20-12 lead. Within 10 minutes it was all over as Davies, the magic man, cut Treorchy to pieces with two lovely solo tries, each different but each devastating in their impact on Treorchy.

From then on it was all downhill as Davies toyed with the opposition and others finished it all off. Jarvis, once or twice, was rebuked by Davies for taking wrong options but the ever-improving full-back kept his head and maintained his unerring accuracy with the boot to finish with 20 points.

Four of Jarvis's conversions were quite stupendous efforts - from wide out he struck the ball with the power of a howitzer. The surprise was that this deadly accurate kicker ever missed one. He also drove Treorchy back time and again with long raking touch kicks. But if Jarvis's role was important then so too was Davies's, and the veteran fly- half goes to Paris next week to take his seat on the Welsh bench confident that if called upon by his country he can still do the business.

In many ways Treorchy were unfortunate to end up with such a hiding. For most of the first half they had produced a spirited, enterprising brand of rugby that had Cardiff on the back foot. And Davies's opposite number, David Evans, did not pale by comparison with the great international. Another archetypal Welsh fly-half, Evans is also approaching veteran status but like the master in black and blue he retains an impish delight in beating opponents with guile and flair.

Evans was intent on engineering at least the prospect of an upset victory but although in the early stages there was plenty to cheer the Treorchy fans, they were soon quietened by Davies. Evans tried to lift his side in the face of relentless pressure from Cardiff in the second half, but to no avail. It was a measure of the home side's confidence that they made five replacements in the second period.

This was an important match for Cardiff, for they have set their sights on qualification for next season's European Cup. As long as Davies keeps displaying his virtuoso skills they should achieve that comfortably. For the Arms Park fans at least that is a rich promise for the rest of the season.

Cardiff: L Jarvis; S Ford, M Hall, G Jones (J Thomas, 73), S Hill; J Davies, J Hewlett; A Lewis (L Mustoe, 72), P Young, L Mustoe (D Young, 67), K Stewart, D Jones (L Jones, 63), O Williams, H Taylor (capt) (M Bennett, 55), J Ringer.

Treorchy: D Lloyd; R Wintle (J Riggs 51), P Jones, S Davies, R Morgan; D Evans, C Hammans; K Matthews (A Dibble, 62), A Thomas, M Powell, S Evans, A Freeman, G Owen (capt), S Eggar, O Lloyd.

Referee: Peter Bolland (Newport).