Cardiff A finally got their first win on their travels in Cornwall, and with it gave their British and Irish Cup campaign a burst of life as they came out on top in a very tight encounter. The result keeps the hopes of qualification alive, but still out of our hands as we go into the last two rounds after Christmas.
Richard Hodges made a number of changes to the starting XV after last week’s loss in the reserve fixtures, bringing in a number of senior players ahead of the Premiership players to add that bit of experience. I’m sure words were had in the week about gifting easy tries to the Pirates and also converting possession as Cardiff had much more of the ball or terrority at CAP, but little to show for it.
Cardiff A 10-22 Cornish Pirates: https://cardiffbluesblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/cardiff-a-10-22-cornish-pirates/
With no television coverage and clearly very little internet connection in the deepest, darkest South-West, I don’t particularly have much match report at all. In fact, I’m not even sure whoever wrote the Cardiff website report went to the game, because there’s little to no information in that, but I’ll piece the little mathc events we have together.
The game got off to a flying start as the Pirates squandered a great chance for a first minute try, before inside five minutes Aled Summerhill re-discovered his scoring boots to touch down under the posts from outside centre, with Gareth Davies’ conversion making it a dream start. However, for the rest of the first half it was the Cornish Pirates, and referee Mr Gaffikin, show. Prop Brad Thyer went to the bin as the referee awarded the home side a penalty try, and then they capitalised on their numerical advantage went Max Bodilly collected his kick through. One missed Laurence May conversion was made up for with a penalty as Richard Smith joined Thyer in the bin, but we were back to full strength just before the break.
Cardiff seemed to control the second half with the wind at their backs, and were the only points scorers. American international Cameron Dolan scored his first try for a Cardiff team with a rolling maul first up. With the teams level it wasn’t a great time for Davies to miss the conversion, but a late penalty wrapped up the first competitive A team win.
It’s good to see the A team following the senior side and grinding out victories, not giving up the ghost when the going gets tough, as they could’ve done when eight points down at the break. Having said that, it is slightly concerning that the lack of discipline seems to be a club wide problem, something the coaching team will be looking to stamp out I’m sure.
It won’t be easy to clinch qualification due to the very slow start to the BIC campaign, and there are a number of result permutations that could happen in the final rounds after Christmas. What is definite is that Cardiff A need to win both of their remaining games, against Nottingham away and London Welsh at CAP. Then either Cornish Pirates need to lose both their games, or beat London Welsh while we play Nottingham.
There’ll be plenty of crossed fingers, but I hope Richard Hodges realises from the last two weeks that the A team is much better utilised as a place for senior fringe players mixed with youngsters and some club players on the bench, than having the Premiership players in crucial roles. Unfortuantely they just aren’t good enough, that’s why we have the A team in the first place!