Cardiff RFC 78-12 Ebbw Vale

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Cardiff RFC ran in eleven tries as they cruised past Ebbw Vale to reach the quarter-final of the Specsavers Cup, with the title defence continuing in style.

The Blue and Blacks were almost unstoppable at times against a Steelmen side that weren’t ever really in the game but kept plugging away until the end to their credit.

Steve Law had made seven changes to his starting XV that had beaten Ebbw Vale in the league just seven days previously, with Peter Lloyd coming in at tighthead, Callum Bradbury and James Ratti forming a new partnership at lock, Morgan Allen returning at eight, Tom Habberfield and Gareth Thompson back at half-back, and Sam Beard in at centre.

However, whereas the game the week before had been a tight affair in dreadful conditions, a calm night at the Arms Park afforded the chance for running rugby and Cardiff were in the mood to make metres.

The scoreboard was at work inside 10 minutes as the home side attacked from a scrum inside the Ebbw 22. Possession was worked left where Barney Nightingale came within inches of scoring, before the attack returned to the right wing where Dan Fish threw a dummy and crossed the line without being touched.

Gareth Thompson added the first of what would be 10 conversions on the night, and within a few minutes the lead was extended thanks to a fine piece of play from Ben Thomas.

Ripping possession free he lined up quickly at first receiver helping release Max Llewellyn outside him. The winger was stopped just short but the ball recycled quickly and that man Fish was on hand once again for an easy jog in for a second try.

Max Llewellyn Ebbw Vale RFC

It seemed Llewellyn would get on the scoresheet himself moments later but a final pass from Fish was wayward, however Cardiff were straight back on the try scoring trail when Thomas’ miss-pass released Sam Beard.

The centre kicked back inside with little support around and fortunately the Ebbw full-back made a complete hash of recovering possession as the ball sat up perfectly for Tom Habberfield who had Morgan Allen on his shoulder to go over for the third try of the night.

Ebbw had their moments in attack, working through phases well and almost getting on the scoresheet only for the try to be ruled out due to a double movement. On the whole though the Blue and Blacks were in a jackal mood.

James Ratti and James Botham were at the forefront of attempts to win possession on the floor, and it was a penalty secured by the latter that allowed Thompson the chance to make the score a comfortable 24-0 at half-time.

Ebbw might have hoped to get in and regroup at the break, but any hopes they could work themselves back into the game ended after 43 seconds of the second half when Max Llewellyn finished a move that he had started with a big carry from kick-off.

That was the first of three tries in nine minutes as Dan Fish completed his hat-trick and Evan Yardley ran in a 50 metre stormer after a Ben Thomas break to make the score 45-0 and end the game as a contest.

Evan Yardley Ebbw Vale RFC

Ebbw did manage to get themselves on the scoreboard with an unconverted close range try, but Cardiff hadn’t come close to stopping their own try scoring rampage as Barney Nightingale did brilliantly to beat five men and score in the left corner.

Next up was a second for Llewellyn after a Thompson kick was charged down straight to Joe Scrivens who broke the line before feeding the winger to score, before Alex Everett got over to continue his excellent try scoring record at the back of a driving maul.

The final two tries were far too easy, with firstly James Botham sprinting away before finding a galloping Callum Bradbury in support, and then Leon Andrews snaffled up a loose ball from a dropped pass to jog in.

There was a second try for Ebbw late on but the final score of 78-15 was a tough one to take for them, and leaves them needing a big turnaround this season as they also sit third bottom of the Indigo Group Premiership.

For Cardiff though it was a fine night, scoring the most points any Blue and Blacks side has scored in a competitive game in the semi-professional era, and moving into the quarter-final with the draw expected to take place this week.

Unfortunately it was somewhat overshadowed though by an injury to Barney Nightingale who reportedly suffered a seizure in the changing room after a head knock. He was taken to the Heath but has since tweeted that he is recovering well.

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