Llanelli. . .15
THIS bout at Cardiff Arms Park between two leading heavyweights went the distance, with Cardiff, who have set the style and the pace in Welsh rugby this season, being beaten more emphatically than the score might suggest.
Llanelli, never more dangerous than when they have their backs to the wall, brought a depleted side while Cardiff were reinforced by the return of Mike Hall.
Nevertheless Llanelli, who did the double over Cardiff last season, again showed the deep passion and ability they have for the skills of the game.
Cardiff were undone by the close, driving play of the Llanelli forwards, supported by their courageous captain, Rupert Moon. None did better than their third- choice hooker, the Welsh Under- 21 player Paul Young, who had a tremendous match.
Cardiff relinquished the initiative created by two penalty goals in the first 10 minutes as Llanelli pinned them back for the rest of the half. They scored only a penalty goal by Hugh Williams and a try by Young, which was far less than they deserved, because they had Cardiff under siege for long periods.
Cardiff rallied at the beginning of the second half and for a while put Llanelli on the rack. However, Llanelli got the critical score midway through the second period when Young broke from loose play to create a try for Paul Jones, which was converted by Williams.
Cardiff's only reply was another penalty by Adrian Davies. The champions had shown their best form of the season while Cardiff, who had averaged 47 points a game in their previous five league matches, received a severe setback to their aspirations.
Cardiff: M Rayer; S Hill, M Hall (capt), J Hewlett, N Walker; A Davies, A Moore; M Griffiths, J Humphries, P Sedgemore, T Rees, D Jones, M Budd, H Taylor, H Stone.
Llanelli: I Jones; I Evans, M Wintle, L Davies, W Proctor; H Williams, R Moon (capt); D Joseph, P Young, H William-Jones, P Jones, A Copsey, E Lewis, S Quinnell, L Jones.
Referee: C Thomas (WRU).
Scores: A Davies (pen, 5 min, 3-0); A Davies (pen, 10 min, 6-0); H Williams (pen, 20 min, 6-3); Young (try, 25 min 6-8); Jones/H Williams (try/con, 60 min, 6-15); A Davies (pen, 75 min, 9-15).