Rugby Union: Stephens steals show
Monday 15 February 1993
Llanelli. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
COMETH the hour, cometh Llanelli. Whenever the pressure is turned up, the Scarlets switch on and their double act over the Heineken League leaders has thrown the title chase into the melting pot.
They became the first team to beat Cardiff at the Arms Park this season thanks to a strong instinct for survival and their greater opportunism. What all that added up to was a win that keeps them firmly in the hunt and means Cardiff no longer have a cushion at the top of the table.
It also exposed one of Cardiff's few remaining weaknesses, as highlighted by their Australian coach, Alex Evans. 'We have got to learn the discipline of winning, which once again got away from us. It's something that can, and will, be done but perhaps I'm expecting a bit too much too soon,' he said.
Cardiff certainly had enough chances to win, especially via the boot. Adrian Davies may be the leading, and record, points scorer in the league, but he would not have hit a barn door from two paces in this game. In all there were 18 various attempts on goal from conversions, penalties and drop goals from both teams. Only two hit the mark and Davies accounted for half of the failures.
Meanwhile, his opposite number, the much-maligned Colin Stephens, proved that his recent experiments with psychotherapy and acupuncture have done some good. Discarded by club and country last month, the outside- half had a game in which his pluses certainly outweighed his minuses.
There were two tries and one success out of eight kicks from Stephens, although he did concede Cardiff's first try when he allowed Mike Budd to charge down a clearance kick. There was also a rush of blood when he discarded a simple penalty shot and attempted to score a solo try.
One member of the 14,000 crowd who could have been excused for tearing his hair out over Llanelli's win was the Cardiff captain, Mike Hall, who missed the game because of a groin strain. He will have a scan on Tuesday, but still hopes to be fit to play for Wales in Scotland at the weekend.
Cardiff: Tries Budd, Thomas; Penalty Davies. Llanelli: Tries Stephens 2, Moon; Penalty Stephens.
Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, C Thomas, C Laity, N Walker; A Davies, A Moore; K Matthews, J Humphreys, P Sedgemore, P Kawulok, S Roy, H Stone, H Taylor (capt), M Budd.
Llanelli: I Jones; I Evans, S Davies, N Davies, W Proctor; C Stephens, R Moon (capt); R Evans, A Lamerton, D Joseph, P Davies, A Copsey, E Lewis, S Quinnell, L Jones.
Referee: D Bevan (Clydach).
Latest in Sport
Manchester United teased by Monaco after claims they could have signed 'Luis Suarez of Neymar' instead or £58m Anthony Martial
Former Manchester United star Karel Poborsky goes full hipster
Manchester United hit back at Real Madrid by claiming they let David De Gea 'slip through their fingers into the back of the net'
Premier League Power Rankings: Eden Hazard and Harry Kane continue to slip but Wayne Rooney has to perform against rivals
Serie B introduces 'green cards' to promote good behaviour, fair play and sportsmanship
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Malnourished two-year-old found being breastfed by dog in Chile
- 5 YouTube video shows woman verbally abusing takeaway staff 'because they used green peppers'
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...
£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...
£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...