Anderson learns hard early lesson

Cardiff Blues 18 - Newport-Gwent Dragons 8
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The Independent Online

If Sir Clive Woodward needs any tips on the potential pitfalls of changing sports, he would do well to consult with the Newport-Gwent Dragons coach, Chris Anderson, after his first taste of rugby union.

The Australian, who won the rugby league World Cup with the Kangeroos, was a shock appointment in the summer to replace the new Wales coach, Mike Ruddock, at Newport.

He arrived admitting he knew virtually nothing of the union game, including many of the rules, yet vowed to make his team fitter, stronger and more disciplined in defence than any other in the Celtic League.

Yet in his first competitive game in charge his team failed in all three areas, receivinga lesson in old-fashioned tribal rugby from neighbours Cardiff.

An early try from Gareth Wyatt gave the Dragons a flying start. However, as the game wore on, they were out-muscled up front,gifting two tries to the Blues with some calamitous defending that had Anderson squirming. "It was very disappointing. I thought we played dumb. We didn't use our backs and got turned over far too many times," he said. "I was pleased with the effort but we've still got a lot to work on."

Gethin Jenkins was the outstanding performer in the Cardiff front-row but also demonstrated his mobility by charging down kicks to create both tries. On 29 minutes he got a hand to Ceri Sweeney's clearance for Richard Smith to touch down, before repeating the feat in the closing stages, this time for Martyn Williams to settle the result.

Cardiff: Tries R Smith, M Williams; Conversion L Thomas; Penalties L Thomas 2. Newport: Try Wyatt; Penalty C Sweeney.

Cardiff: R Williams; J Vaughton, T Shanklin, T Davies, C Morgan; L Thomas, R Smith; G Jenkins, G Williams, B Evans (M Jones, 63), C Quinnell (D Jones, 80), R Sidoli, N Thomas, K Schubert, M Williams (capt).

Newport: K Morgan; G Wyatt, H Luscombe, J Bryant (S Tuipulotu, 60), N Brew; C Sweeney, G Baber (G Cooper, 61); R Snow (A Black, 65), S Jones, C Anthony, M Owen (P Sidoli, 33), I Gough, J Ringer, R Bryan, J Forster (capt).

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).