Cardiff A go into their final pool game with only pride to play for following last week’s loss to London Welsh. With no chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds, Richard Hodges men will be looking for a win to end their first British and Irish Cup campaign on a high.
This weekend’s opponents Nottingham are in a similar boat with just two points and no wins from their pool games thus far. Those points came in our first game, the pool opener at CAP, when Notts’ first ever meeting with a Cardiff team ended in a 20-20 draw. An extremely windy day in the Welsh capital saw us race into a 17-0 half-time lead through Richard Smith and Owen Jenkins tries, before the away side got back into it with the weather aide second half.
Cardiff A 20-20 Nottingham: https://cardiffbluesblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/cardiff-a-20-20-nottingham/
Since then the form hasn’t been brilliant at all, despite the fact their early season results have kept them in 6th place of the Championship. They’ve lost each of their last five games over the Christmas period into the New Year, culminating in a 38-19 loss in the BIC last weekend at Cornish Pirates to leave them stone dead bottom of the pool.
Obviously Cardiff A’s only form has come via the BIC and it’s been up and down to stay the least. That dodgy start in the 20-20 draw was followed by a disappointing loss to London Welsh and then a tough game at home to Cornish Pirates was lost before we beat them away. Another disappointing loss to Welsh last week knocked us out of the competition, with the story of the campaign being impressive inidivdual performances have been overshadowed by poor team ones. Hopefully everything comes together in Nottingham.
Cardiff A 30-32 London Welsh: https://cardiffbluesblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/cardiff-a-30-32-london-welsh/
Richard Hodges has largely kept faith with the team that played last week against London Welsh, and the youngsters that have formed the backbone of the team. Last week’s two-try MotM Elis Wyn Benham is joined in the back three by Callum Hall and Terri Morgan Gee, with Richard Smith moving to the centre alongside Harri Millard. At half-backs, Jarrod Evans starts at 10, with Lewis Jones joining him as Tomos Williams is on the bench. The back row also sees changes as James Sheekey is this week flanked by Shane Lewis-Hughes and Morgan Sienawski, with Jevon Groves captaining the team from second row alongside Chris Dicomidis. Up front, Ashleigh James replaces Scott Andrews at hooker.
Cardiff A team vs Nottingham: 15 Callum Hall, 14 Teri Morgan Gee, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Harri Millard, 11 Elis-Wyn Benham, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Lewis Jones; 1 Brad Thyer, 2 Ashleigh James, 3 Craig Mitchell, 4 Jevon Groves, 5 Chris Dicomidis , 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 7 Morgan Sienawski , 8 James Sheekey
Replacements: 16 Joe Tomlinson, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Kieron Assiratti, 19 Miles Normandale, 20 Calum Bradbury, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Nick Griffiths
Let’s hope the A side can finish the competition on a high, but it certainly won’t be easy with a tough Friday night trip to Nottingham. The players must perform better as a team and be on top form individually, with this possibly being the last chance for a few to impress before Danny Wilson cuts the squad size down at the end of the season. Come on Cardiff A!!
Cardiff A record v Nottingham: W 0 D 1 L 0
Nottingham form: LLLWLWWWLDLWWLLLLL
Cardiff A form: DLLWL
Cardiff A top try scorers: Lewis Jones, Richard Smith, Elis-Wyn Benham, Owen Lane (2)
Cardiff A top points scorer: Gareth Davies (41)
*Nottingham player stats not available
Who knows, who cares. Probably Irish and about 16 years old.