Slipshod Cardiff

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The Independent Online

Cardiff 18 Bridgend 19

It was probably the most pertinent piece of advice given all day when a wag in the crowd called to the failing Cardiff players: "Don't give up your day jobs!"

In the age of professionalism players are looking towards contracts and fortunes, yet everyone at the Arms Park knows standards have to rise.

To be fair to Cardiff, who are still at the top of the Heineken League, this was their fifth game in 15 days. The problem has been that while they have blown hot during the week, drawing with Begles and hammering Ulster in the European Cup, they have been off-colour at the weekends.

This, their second successive home defeat, was hardly the send-off the players would have wanted to give the departing coach Alex Evans, who heads back Down Under this week. He leaves behind a side now striving to make a mark in Europe.

But unless they can field their strongest side, they look destined for similar slips, especially when they come up against a team as committed as Bridgend.

Having conceded fourth and 10th minute tries to Andy Booth and Gareth Jones, they began to chip away at Cardiff's lead via the unerring boot of their outside-half, Matthew Lewis.

He had kicked four penalties to level the scores by half-time and a minute into the second half he converted a fabulous try by the full-back Adrian Durston which gave Bridgend a winning lead.

Cardiff: Tries Booth, G Jones; Conversion C John; Penalties C John 2. Bridgend: Try Durston; Conversion Lewis; Penalties Lewis 4.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Ford, S John, G Jones, N Walker; C John, A Booth; M Griffiths, J Humphreys, L Mustoe, K Stewart, D Jones, M Bennett, H Taylor (capt), O Williams.

Bridgend: A Durston; G Webbe, D James, T Maniseitava, J Reynolds (J Ball, 77); M Lewis, R Jones; L Manning, I Greenslade (capt) (A Jones, 49), S Gale (S Ford, 60), G Rowlands, E Williams, N Thomas, A Williams, J Forster (J Purnell. 72).

Referee: R G Davies (Dunvant).