Rugby Union: Sullivan watches from the wing

Cilfynydd 0 Cardiff 93
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The Independent Online
ANTHONY SULLIVAN had a cold and frustrating introduction to rugby union last night as he made his Cardiff bow in this Swalec Cup second- round mismatch. The St Helens wing, on a three-month contract with Cardiff, played his first game in the 15-a-side code before a 2,000 crowd at the Welfare Ground in this small Rhondda village.

What they had hoped would happen was that Sullivan would be given a constant supply of possession to show off the skills which made him the leading try-scorer in Super League last season. Yet for much of the night he was stuck out on the wing, nothing more than a spare part as Cardiff went on a predictable points rampage.

The problem for Sullivan was that the ball did not need to reach him for Cardiff to score. Ironically, his wing partner, Liam Botham, ran in a hat-trick of tries in the first half before he was forced to leave the field with a hamstring strain.

Sullivan kept changing wings, but it was not until the 71st minute that he got his first real opportunity. With no room in which to move on the left touchline he first used his speed to beat his opposite number and then showed off his strength as he simply bounced away the last line of defence as a Cilfynydd player foolishly attempted to tackle him around the chest.

That moment obviously gave him a taste for the scoring action and after spending three-quarters of the game wondering why on earth he had agreed to try his hand at rugby union, he rounded off the evening with Cardiff's 15th try as he supported the centre Simon Hill in a raid down the left.

The outside half Paul Burke added the conversion, his seventh of the night, and with a century of points only one score away the referee David Davies quite rightly ended the game three minutes short.

Cardiff will now meet Seven Sisters, last season's shock semi-finalists, in the third round of the cup. Sullivan's next date, however, will be against West Hartlepool at the Arms Park on Saturday when a good performance in front of the Wales coach, Graham Henry, could put him into the national side to meet the Springboks next week.

Cardiff: Tries Wintle 3, Botham 3, Thomas 2, Sullivan 2, Hill, Jones, penalty try, Jarvis; Conversions Burke 7, Jarvis 2.

Cilfynydd: J Edwards; N Slaherty, C Young (N Mogford, 32), R Davies (S Mullac, 55), A Borkowski; C Cotter, L Williams; R Davies (capt), I Iles, P Phillips (P Cleary, 66), R Pearce, M Jenkins (M Hext, 55), H Bennett, T Lloyd (G Gullidge, 43), S Davies.

Cardiff: J Thomas; A Sullivan, S Hill, M Wintle, L Botham (L Jarvis, 33); P Burke, R Jones (S Wake, 60); S John (D Patterson, 60), P Young (S Nelson, 60), L Mustoe (D Sweet, 72), K Stewart, S Williams, O Williams, G Kacala, P Williams.

Referee: D R Davies (Llanbradach).

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