Cardiff RFC lost a third away game in a row in the Indigo Group Premiership, going down narrowly to Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Steve Law had made six changes to the starting XV that beat Bridgend Ravens at the Arms Park the week before, with Thomas Davies, Iestyn Harris, Will Davies-King and Filo Paulo forming an almost entirely new tight five, Morgan Allen returning from suspension at number eight and Max Llewellyn slotting in at centre.
The changes did not impact the Blue and Blacks in the early stages though as the away side flew out of the blocks, piling on the pressure and earning back-to-back penalties that offered field position in the opposition 22.
Aberavon were able to stop the initial driving maul but the ball was moved into the backs and Teri Gee ran a stunning line off the shoulder of Gareth Thompson to opening the scoring, with Thompson adding the conversion.
Thompson then extended the lead with a penalty on the 15 minute mark, but as the first half went beyond it’s halfway point the home side started to get a foothold in the game before getting their first try in a manner that Cardiff will find disappointing.
A 22 dropout was kicked into the Aberavon half by the Blue and Blacks but the Wizards were able to cut through the kick chase very simply, with Chay Smith the man who crossed the line.
Aled Thomas converted and kicked a penalty just before the break to draw the scores level at 10-10 as the teams went into the sheds.
Cardiff were able to get on the front foot again at the start of the second half, but could only produce another Thompson penalty to show for it this time before Filo Paulo was yellow carded for a late tackle and the momentum was taken away from the Blue and Blacks.
Aberavon took advantage of having the extra man as Geraint James pushed over from close range, with Thomas converting, and when Thomas added another penalty with just over 10 minutes to go it pushed the Wizards into a seven-point lead.
There was a big push for Cardiff to get back into the game late on, but the efforts were made all the harder when Filo Paulo was then shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle.
Teri Gee did manage to bag his second try of the game with the clock red, his fifth try in seven games since signing for the Blue and Blacks, but Gareth Thompson couldn’t convert to secure the draw, with Steve Law’s men only taking a losing bonus point back up the M4.
That losing bonus point means the lead at the top of the league is still a comfortable seven points with a game-in-hand, but Cardiff will be keen to return to winning ways against RGC on Friday night at the Arms Park.