Cardiff excel in art of finishing

Click to follow

The Newport forwards must have been wondering what the hell was going on behind them, because they won enough possession for their side to have won this game twice over.

The Newport forwards must have been wondering what the hell was going on behind them, because they won enough possession for their side to have won this game twice over.

They put the Cardiff scrum through the mincer, had the better organised line-out and, in England Under-21 cap Peter Buxton, had the best ballcarrier in the match.

So what went wrong for the pretenders to Cardiff's crown? It was not simply that Shane Howarth left his usually reliable kicking boots behind, or that a mix-up gifted Rob Howley an interception score, more that Cardiff's defence was like a brick wall from start to finish.

The Newport coach, Allan Lewis, while conceding that his side were "one-dimensional and not creative enough" behind the scrum, heaped his praise on the way the blue and blacks tackled and organised their defence against a side that hadalmost 70 per cent of the territory in a typically committed east Wales derby.

While Newport were left ruing their missed opportunities, Cardiff gave them a lesson in finishing as they conjured up a fifth-minute try for the left wing Craig Morgan and then struck a killer blow three minutes before half-time with the astute Howley's 65-metre interception try.

Coming moments after Howarth had missed with his third penalty out of six, which would have given Newport the lead for the second time in the match, that score sent Gary Teichmann's men into the half-time break on the lowest of lows.

They at least emerged with great character and a try only five minutes after the restart from Jason Forster, whichwas converted by Howarth, breathed new life into the contest as the visitors trailed by only one point.

Yet no sooner than you could say "game on" than up stepped Neil Jenkins to put his very familiar boot into the opposition. As soon as Newport began to chase the game, and make an increasing number of errors, so Jenkins made it "game over" with four successive penalties.

Cardiff, the reigning Welsh/Scottish League champions, this maintained their 100 per-cent record. Now they face an even bigger test with an away game at the current league leaders, Bridgend, next weekend.

Cardiff: Tries C Morgan, R Howley; Conversions N Jenkins 2; Penalties N Jenkins 4; Drop goal N Jenkins. Newport: Try J Forster; Conversion S Howarth; Penalties S Howarth 3.

Cardiff: G Thomas; N Walne, J Robinson, P Muller (P Jones, 38), N Walne; N Jenkins, R Howley (capt); S John, A Lewis, G Powell (D Geraghty, 60), S Moore, J Tait, G Kacala, M Williams, O Williams.

Newport: E Lewis; M Mostyn, J Pritchard, A Marinos, M Llewellyn (M Pini, 56); S Howarth, D Burn (D Edwards, 51); R Snow, J Richards (P Young,75), A Garvey (C Jones, 16), I Gough (G Taylor, 79), S Raiwalui, P Buxton, J Forster, G Teichmann (capt).

Referee: N Whitehouse (Swansea).

Comments