Cardiff got the Indigo Group Premiership Cup off to a flying start with an eight-try win over RGC at the Arms Park on the afternoon the Blue and Blacks remembered Owain Williams.
The former back rower passed away in the week after a battle with cancer and a minute’s silence was held before kick-off to pay respects to a player who made 221 appearances for the club between 1992 and 2001, as well as supporting his son Teddy as the second row graduates through the ranks at the club.
Just before the sides had taken the field there was a late change to the Rags side as Tom Habberfield withdraw from the squad with Dan Fish replacing him on the wing and Jake Thomas coming on to the bench, and it seemed the pre-match disruption may have contributed to a slow start for Steve Law’s men.
A tight first half saw a number of handling errors from both sides disrupt the flow, but the Blue and Blacks could call on the quality of the late addition Fish who called a wrap around play with space identified on the left wing and his perfect execution drew the outside defender to put Harri Millard away for a good finish in the corner.
RGC were able to hit back relatively quickly though as Jack Maynard went for a chip kick on a kick return which was taken by the North Walians and promptly counter attacked into the space left by an injured Barney Nightingale down receiving treatment. Rhys Tudor was the man to dot down but a Jack Maynard penalty gave Cardiff an 8-5 lead at the break.
The second half was pure dominance from the home side though, scoring 52 unanswered points to canter away with the victory. A big Sean Moore carry laid the platform for Harri Millard to break a tackle and offload superbly for Ryan Wilkins to score, before Maynard added three more points when RGC were caught offside after a lineout.
Millard was back in the action shortly after when he made a try with footballing skills and quick thinking. A superb banana kick went out for a 50/22 before the winger sprinted after his kick and took a quick lineout for Ellis Bevan to link with Wilkins and his second try of the game.
A penalty allowed Cardiff to kick to the corner and a first lineout drive was pulled down with RGC shown a yellow card. No penalty try was forthcoming but from the next lineout a move saw the forwards stopped short but Bevan was on hand to snipe over. Moments later the forwards were successful in their attempts to push over from close with Efan Daniel the man on the scoresheet on debut.
Bevan was back in the action soon after when a snipe from the base of a breakdown took him 60 metres down field. He had Tom Hoppe in support and although the last pass to Fish didn’t go to hand, the player-coach was alive to intercept RGC’s attempts to clear their lines and go under the posts.
From creator to scorer for a second time, Bevan benefitted from a Wilkins pass out of the back of the hand that looked marginally forward but wasn’t called as the scrum-half stepped past the last defender to score before completing his hat-trick when Jake Thomas’ offload freed Hoppe who had Bevan supporting on the inside tracking line.
In between those final two tries a moment of thuggish behaviour from Harri Evans saw him sent from the field for a dangerous breakdown entry, but that didn’t take the shine off a superb Cardiff performance as Jack Maynard converted all seven of the second half tries to make the final score 60-5.
A superb start for Steve Law’s men who displayed superior fitness and skill levels to slice through RGc at will in the second half and secure a bonus-point win with ease. Tougher tests will certainly await the Rags, but by the same token the Blue and Blacks will only get better as the season goes on.