Blue and Blacks character ensures an unbeaten start to the season

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When it comes to comparing starts to the season Cardiff RFC are certainly in a much better shape now than they were at the beginning of 2018/19.

Rewind roughly 12 months and after three games of the Indigo Group Premiership the Blue and Blacks had suffered back-to-back defeats before scraping past Newport, picking up those four points and just a solitary losing bonus point at home to Merthyr and coming off the back of a particularly disappointing performance away at Llandovery.

Looking at results now though, and Steve Law’s men are sitting at the top of the table, with three wins from three over Pontypridd, Llanelli and Swansea, picking up the bonus point at Parc y Scarlets for a total of 13 points.

Had we secured those eight extra points last season then it would have been a League and Cup double for Cardiff RFC. Small margins are important, as is a good start to the season.

Especially when you consider the first round Cup win over RGC at Parc Eirias, four wins from four games is certainly a good start to the season.

Perhaps even better than the results though have been the character shown by the squad, which stands the Blue and Blacks in very good stead going into a lengthy run of seven games that takes us to the end of November.

Morgan Allen RGC RFC
Morgan Allen bags a try against RGC

Each of the four wins have seen difficulties present themselves to Cardiff, but each have seen the players and coaches overcome then to ensure the season has started with a 100% record.

First up at home against Pontypridd, despite an excellent opening 20 minutes, the foot came off the pedal somewhat and the away side worked their way back into proceedings, taking a lead into the dying minutes of the game.

However, the Blue and Blacks had the composure and fight to claw back momentum and score a try with the clock red, and Joe Scrivens had the individual nerve to kick us to an opening day victory.

Then away to RGC the challenges all came before kick-off had even happened, with the weight of being defending Cup champions, the knowledge that the home side had beaten Merthyr in North Wales the week before, and then a nightmare bus journey up there causing the start of the game to be delayed.

Add in injuries or unavailability of the likes of Sam Beard and Edd Howley, and the odds seemed stacked against Cardiff, but a superb team performance saw the Blue and Blacks secure a comfortable 24-40 victory and passage into the next round.

James Ratti Pontypridd RFC
James Ratti scores against Pontypridd

Steve Law’s men then headed down to Parc y Scarlets to face a Llanelli team boosted with experienced professional number eight Uzair Cassiem among their ranks.

Going in at 10-7 down at the break was far from ideal, particularly after such a poor performance, but the coaches rallied the players brilliantly, the produce an almost unstoppable second half showing.

26 unanswered Blue and Black points saw a 10-33 win confirmed, and the full five points secured to take back down the M4 to Cardiff.

Finally, against Swansea it was almost the opposite to that game in Llanelli, where we came out of the gates well, bagging two early tries and taking a 17-3 lead into half-time, before rearguard action in the second half secured the victory.

Different challenges both on and off the field, but clearly a team with strong individuals that has a culture which allows them to rally together when required and get results.

We saw it towards the back end of last season, on the way to winning the Cup at the Principality Stadium, but to see it head through the summer and a number of squad changes and continue to flourish early in 2019/20 is particularly encouraging.

There are some big games in the coming weeks, including another trip to RGC and a match with fellow early season high-flyers Aberavon, but if the character remains and performances build on top of that then the Blue and Blacks can push however high they want to aim.

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