Rugby Union: Davies saves Cardiff record

Cardiff 14 Wasps 10
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IF RUGBY players were paid on performance, only Owain Williams would have been entitled to go knocking on the Cardiff treasurer's door.

Wasps were hardly any better, or depending on your view just as bad, and even though difficult conditions explained a lot this was one of those occasions when a 6,120 crowd were decidedly short changed.

The same could be applied to Anthony Sullivan, in his final match for Cardiff before he returns to rugby league. Sullivan would have loved a try to mark his farewell. He never looked like getting it and although wretched passing was partly to blame, the flying wing's overall performance had so many question marks against it, that Graham Henry is unlikely to call him into the Wales team for the Five Nations.

Nigel Melville, Wasps' director of rugby, tried to explain why his captain, Mark Weedon, continually questioned the referee David Price's decisions, and risked dismissal for his persistence. "He didn't understand a lot of the referee's decisions," Melville explained.

The players had some explaining to do. There was a lack of imagination and some downright substandard play on both sides and it was difficult to believe that this was Cardiff's 21st successive victory on the ground since they lost in the Gwyn Jones injury debacle against Swansea 14 months ago. This was also the nearest they came to losing that record. Wasps outpointed them in the first half and only a spirited second-half rally got them out of jail. Wasps scored the first try after Sullivan failed to control a midfield pass and, enjoying advantage, Wasps recycled to create a try for Josh Lewsey from 70 metres, Rees converting.

A penalty and a drop goal by Jarvis improved matters for Cardiff but the key to them keeping their record intact was a 56th-minute try. From a five-yard scrum Howley broke wide, timing his pass to Leigh Davies for the centre to angle in and beat two men to the try line. There was not much else for Cardiff to celebrate. Their players, booed by some sections of the crowd at the end, knew that it had been a bad day at the office.

Cardiff: C Morgan; L Botham, L Davies, M Hall, A Sullivan; L Jarvis, R Howley; A Lewis (S John, 71), J Humphreys (D Geraghty, 71), D Young (L Mustoe, 41), S Moore, J Tait, S Williams, G Kacala, O Williams.

Wasps: J Lewsey; S Roiser, N Greenstock, F Waters, P Sampson (J Ufton, 45, M Denney, 66); G Rees, M Wood; D Malloy, D Alexopoulos (D Macer, 60), W Green, M Weedon, S Shaw, J Worsley, P Volley, J Scrivener.

Referee: D Price (Wales).