Cardiff Blues beat the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday evening to get the festive derbies underway for the 2019/20 campaign, but in doing so managed to break some unwanted records.
A long time coming
22nd December 2005 was the last time Cardiff Blues won a league game, the Celtic League as it was then, at the Liberty Stadium. Craig Morgan, Chris Czekaj and Deiniol Jones were the try scorers that day, while Nicky Robinson provided the extras off the tee.
14 long years later all we had to show from trips to Swansea was a draw in 2011, but that all changed on Saturday as we finally broke the hoodoo and came away with the crucial four points needed to keep challenging in the Guinness Pro14.
It is just the second time in the reign on John Mulvihill that Cardiff Blues have won three straight league games, and makes it six seasons in a row that we have won the first Welsh derby of the Christmas period.
The Rhondda Wrecking Ball
If there was ever a more deserved man-of-the-match performance than Shane Lewis-Hughes for Cardiff Blues against the Ospreys on Saturday then I will be stunned as the man from the Rhondda stormed through a superb 80 minutes at the Liberty Stadium.
His nine carries were more than anyone in the visitors’ side, and 13 tackles was second of anyone on the field to James Ratti, with none missed as he helped lead the defence to a superb showing on the back foot.
Lewis-Hughes was also a key cog in a lineout that went 100% from 12 throws, and celebrated his performance with the signing of a new long-term contract over the weekend as he looks to keep catching the eye of Wales management.
Backs to the wall
Cardiff Blues had to make do with just 40% possession during the game, and an even lower 34% possession, as the Ospreys spent long periods of time going through phases in our half.
Fortunately the away side were more than up for the challenge defensively, making 138 tackles with a 94% success rate, conceding just four line breaks and seeing only nine defenders beaten. Add in three turnovers at breakdowns and one in a maul and it was a fine afternoon for us without the ball.
With Cardiff Blues spending 10 minutes before half-time with 13 men, and 10 minutes after with 14 men, the effort is even more spectacular and befitting of a first win in Swansea for over a decade.
Jarrod reaches a ton of points
With his match winning try on Saturday, Jarrod Evans racked up 100 points for the season, the second time he has reached the milestone in his career after also doing so in 2017/18.
With 11 games under his belt he is averaging just over nine points a game, and is up to fourth on the Pro14’s top try scorers list for the season with 60 points to his name.