Cardiff RFC made it three from three to start the Indigo Group Premiership season on Saturday, working hard to overcome Swansea at the Arms Park.
Head coach Steve Law had been able to welcome back a number of Cardiff Blues players into his side with the conclusion of the Celtic Cup, as Teddy Williams and Ben Thomas both started, with Will Davies-King and Dan Fish both on the bench.
However, it was the Whites who got the scoring started, when James Davies kicked a penalty after Cardiff hadn’t rolled away at the breakdown.
Gareth Thompson quickly levelled up the scores for the Blue and Blacks though, after James Beal and Sam Beard had teamed up to attack into the opposition 22, and from there the hosts put the foot down.
Penning Swansea back with some clever kicking eventually paid off when Joe Scrivens was able to break a tackle from full-back, before play was recycled to the opposite wing where Beard powered over.
Before last season’s Premiership Young Player of the Year Ben Thomas showed his class with a line break, finding Joe Gatt in support who drew the last defender and put Tom Habberfield over, with the scrum-half running a perfect tracking line.
Thompson converted both tries for a 17-3 lead, and there should have been more points before the break for Cardiff, but the home side did not quite get the rub of the green.
Habberfield almost chased down a chipped kick but a covering defender just beat him to the ball, before some strong goal line defence from Swansea earned a turnover, and finally Beal had a score ruled out for a double movement.
Any hopes of keeping that momentum going early in the second half were extinguished when Beal saw yellow for a tackle in the air, but fortunately the defence and set piece stood up and managed to avoid any danger.
Back up to a full complement of players, the Blue and Blacks perhaps should have been awarded a penalty try when the Swansea prop deliberately knocked on a pass, for which he saw yellow.
However, further points were not forthcoming for Cardiff, with Swansea the only scorers of the second half, full-back Phil Jones grabbing a try and converting his own score well into extra time to secure a losing bonus point.
Steve Law will perhaps look at a try bonus point that went begging here, but maintaining the 100% record and continuing to sit top of the league, with Merthyr losing to Bridgend, is cause for celebration.
Images courtesy of Viv Jones – https://flickr.com/photos/7431843@N05/sets/72157711308096757