Rugby Union: Stephens steals show

Cardiff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

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).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Polish Speaking Buying Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project