Cardiff fall victim to yellow peril again

Pontypridd 12 Cardiff 10
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The Independent Online

It really has gone beyond a joke for Cardiff. Either there is a conspiracy among referees around Europe against their players, or their apparent disdain for discipline is to blame.

There may have been a few smiles raised when their player-coach David Young was sent to the sin-bin with Martin Leslie in the Celtic League quarter-final in Edinburgh, but then his side went on to win that game. In fact, that was their only victory in their last seven outings.

Young, who had called for greater discipline from his players prior to being pressed into emergency service because of a three-match ban to Ken Fourie, became the first player to pay the newly installed £50 fine for receiving a yellow card. He had to do the same thing the next week.

Never mind the hamstrings or groin strains, it is a cure for yellow fever that the blue and blacks need more than anything if they are to rescue their season. Two more at Sardis Road in a Welsh Premiership match ruined by the rain once again cost them any chance of victory.

On their previous visit to Ponty earlier in the season, Fourie picked up a red card and Peter Rogers spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin. It was business as usual after only 10 minutes when Rob Appleyard incurred the wrath of the referee Nigel Owens for questioning a decision and Rogers went again in the second half.

That made it 13 yellow cards and one red in 13 competitive matches this season. No team with a disciplinary record like that is going to pick up trophies.

With a Celtic League semi-final at Neath to come in the first weekend of January, Young and Cardiff's team manager Derwyn Jones will no doubt be hoping their players can stick to a new year's resolution that bans red and yellow cards.

"Some things are out of your control. Decisions are made on the field by the referees and we can't do anything about them," Jones said.

"We are showing a lot of character when we are down to 14 men. Discipline is an important aspect of the game and we aren't helping ourselves – it is very frustrating."

Five penalties from Brett Davey allowed Ponty to win the first encounter 15-9 and it was four more from the boot of the Cardiff old boy Neil Jenkins that won the day this time.

Cardiff at least scored the game's only try and should have grabbed a second seven minutes from time when Fourie ignored the unmarked John Tait outside him and went for glory. He was tackled inches short and another game that Cardiff could have won was lost.

Pontypridd: Penalties: N Jenkins 4.

Cardiff: Try: R Williams. Conversion: I Harris. Penalty: I Harris.

Pontypridd: B Davey; G Wyatt, S Parker, J Bryant, E Lewis; N Jenkins, P John; G Jenkins, M Davies (capt), D Bell, B Cockbain, R Sidoli, W O'Connor, R Parks, M Owen.

Cardiff: R Wiliams; A Sullivan, J Robinson, M Allen, C Morgan; I Harris, R Smith; P Rogers (T Payne, 78), L Collins, K Fourie, J Tait, H Senekal, R Appleyard (T Payne, 69-78), M Williams (capt), D Baugh (E Lewis, 55).

Referee: N Owens (Pontyberem).

* Swansea scraped home 20-19 at Virginia Park against Caerphilly. First-half tries from Scott Gibbs and Arwel Thomas swung the game the Whites' way, but Caerphilly had their chances to win in a dramatic finale, fly-half Justin Thomas missing two late penalties.