Cardiff Blues suffered a disappointing loss to Scarlets on Saturday, going down 32-12 in Llanelli as the Guinness Pro14 got back underway after six months off.
After all the excitement of rugby returning, it was a classic case of the hope killing us for Cardiff Blues supporters as the home side went ahead early in the game and stayed there, wrapping up victory with three tries early in the second half.
There’s still some stats to get the teeth into though, starting with the man who’s locks formerly flowed…
Dacey Me Rollin
Once again there was an excellent performance from Olly Robinson, but that is only to be expected when the game is on a day ending in ‘y’. 12 tackles topped the list for Cardiff Blues, while there were three key turnovers in the second half.
For me though the eye catching showing on the away team was Kris Dacey, who marked a real return to form after missing much of the season ahead of lockdown through injury.
The hooker got through 10 tackles, was part of a lineout that lost possession just once on our own ball, and crucially carried five times for 26 metres including setting up Josh Adams’ try in the first half with a superb piece of individual play.
While the number of handling errors Cardiff Blues made was poor for a professional outfit even coming on the back of lockdown, the key aspect of the game for John Mulvihill’s men was that trying to face down sides physically is not going to work, especially without the likes of Sam Moore, Josh Navidi, James Ratti and Seb Davies.
When comparing attacking stats there are a number of similarities with the Scarlets. Kicks from hand were 14-15, carries were 87-91, clean breaks were 10-9, and defenders beaten was 13-16.
However, the Scarlets managed to carry for 594 metres compared to Cardiff Blues’ 268 metres. That’s 6.8 metres per carry versus 2.9 metres per carry. With line breaks and defenders beaten roughly the same, the difference comes largely in metres after contact for the home team, who managed to dominate us physically.
The Battle For Top Try Scorer
While Cardiff Blues won’t have anyone near the top of the Pro14 top try scorers list this season, the internal battle in the capital could come to an exciting end this weekend with at least three players in with a serious shout.
Josh Adams’ try on Saturday put him back on top alongside Owen Lane with six tries in all competitions, while Aled Summerhill is just behind on five and will be ruing a missed opportunity to cross the whitewash early in the game when he collided with Harri Millard.
Matthew Morgan’s try bumped him up to four tries for the campaign alongside Lewis Jones, Ben Thomas and Shane Lewis-Hughes, leaving all seven players within striking distance of claiming the crown if they are selected against Ospreys this weekend.