Cardiff could not quite make it three wins in a row despite a late onslaught as Merthyr held on for the Indigo Group Premiership Cup win at The Wern on Saturday.
Steve Law had made a number of changes to the starting XV that beat Pontypridd the previous week, with Iestyn Harris, Llyr Green, Rhys Anstey and James Richards joining the pack, while Jack Maynard, Garyn Smith and Ryan Edwards joined the back line.
The changes may have resulted in a slow start for the Blue and Blacks though as Harley Thompson struck for the hosts inside two minutes, converted by a familiar face in Gareth Thompson. That woke Cardiff up though and started a back and forth opening quarter as Sam Moore struck back, Gareth Thompson restored the lead with a try before Ioan Evans pegged Merthyr back once again.
However, the Ironmen would finish the half the strongest as another former Cardiff player in Callum Bradbury went over before Sam Jones’ try secured a bonus point and a 28-14 lead for half-time.
Steve Law turned to the bench early in the second half and the added impetus gave the Rags chances to score, with Ioan Evans grabbing a second try before Jacob Beetham secured the bonus point, but a missed conversion and a Gareth Thompson penalty secured the win for Merthyr despite the Blue and Blacks pushing hard for a winner in the closing stages.
The loss costs Cardiff top spot in the Eastern Pool of the Cup, as Newport’s win over Ebbw Vale sends the Black and Ambers ahead, but there’s just a point in it as the Rags prepare for a first trip of the season to RGC next weekend.