Rugby Union: Might of Cardiff arrests Ebbw flow

Ebbw Vale 18 Cardiff 33
Click to follow
The Independent Online
EVEN if the English clubs are adamant they have turned their backs on European competition next season, their Welsh counterparts are still going hell for leather for a top-four finish in their domestic league.

With successive Premier Division victories over Llanelli, Neath, Bridgend and the reigning champions, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale had not only moved into fourth place, but were poised to move even higher with a victory over Cardiff.

The revival of fortunes at the top end of the Sirhowy Valley has finally given Gwent rugby something to shout about. You cannot quite yet substitute Ebbw Vale for Pontypool or Newport during their days of dominance, but at least the club has come to terms with the needs of the professional game.

Progressive off the field - there was a long queue of fans still waiting to get in when the game kicked off - they are highly combative and creative on it. Cardiff found this out as early as the 15th minute when the scrum- half, David Llewellyn, broke from a scrum on half way to put his left wing, Alun Harries, clear to score.

It took Cardiff half an hour to progress into the home 22 and it was the boot of Lee Jarvis which kept them in the game. Jarvis landed two penalties and also scored the game's opening try to give his side a three- point lead at the break.

Anything could have happened from there on, but Cardiff seized the initiative and raced into a match-winning position with a burst of 15 points in 10 minutes. Their victory was based on the power of their scrum, with the Welsh props, Andrew Lewis and David Young, much to the fore, and the psychological advantage their pack gained should do wonders for them when they return to Eugene Cross Park for a Swalec Cup tie in two weeks.

Craig Morgan and Leigh Davies were worked clear for two tries in seven minutes and Jarvis kept adding the points with his boot. He also converted Rob Howley's try eight minutes from time to complete his match tally of 18 points.

Ebbw Vale: Tries Harries, penalty try; Conversion: Hayward. Penalties Hayward 2. Cardiff: Tries Jarvis, Davies, Morgan, Howley; Conversions Jarvis 2; Penalties Jarvis 3.

Ebbw Vale: S Taumalolo; A Harries, J Hawker, J Funnell, L Woodard; B Hayward, D Llewellyn; A Phillips, L Phillips (S Jones, 67), I Thomas, L Banks (C Billen, 49), K Faletau, R Collins, K Jones, M Jones (P Pook, 72).

Cardiff: J Thomas; C Morgan, L Davies, G Thomas, N Walker; L Jarvis, R Howley; A Lewis, J Humphreys (capt; P Young 75-76), D Young (L Mustoe, 45), T Rees (D Jones, 47), J Tait, G Kacala (O Williams, 72), J Ringer, S Williams.

Referee: H Lewis (Bridgend).