Late Williams try helps Cardiff edge Dragons
RAINBOW CUP REPORT: Teddy Williams made an instant impact as his late try helped Cardiff Blues to a 17-16 win over the Dragons in their Pro14 Rainbow Cup encounter at Cardiff Arms Park.
There was little between the teams but Dragons will rue a host of missed opportunities when their opponents were down to 13 men for a 10-minute period in the second half.
Josh Adams and Williams scored tries for Blues, with Ben Thomas kicking a penalty and a conversion and Jarrod Evans adding a conversion.
Rhys Lawrence scored the Dragons’ only try, with Sam Davies kicking three penalties and a conversion.
It took Adams only 11 minutes to celebrate his Lions call-up by scoring the opening try of the game. Blues built up a sustained period of pressure with strong bursts from Jason Harries and Rhys Carre before a well-judged pass from Thomas sent Adams over.
Dragons then suffered two further blows. First Matthew Screech, a Cardiff player next season, departed with an injury before Davies was off-target with a straightforward penalty attempt.
Thomas extended Blues’ lead with a simple penalty to give his side a 10-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Thomas blotted his copybook by over-kicking a penalty into the dead-ball area so Blues lost 45 metres and their opponents were able to enjoy a period of territorial domination.
The Gwent side threatened the tryline but lacked the accuracy to capitalise and the only score of the second quarter was a Davies penalty from the last kick of the half.
Five minutes after the restart, Cardiff centre Owen Lane was red carded for a high challenge on Dragons scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou and the visitors immediately capitalised.
From a line-out 10 metres out, Dragons went through the phases before Lawrence forced his way over with a conversion from Davies bringing the scores level.
Dragons should then have taken the lead but they chose not to take three points from a kickable penalty in favour of a more attacking option but it proved the wrong call as they blew their opportunity.
They learnt their lesson as Davies kicked the next penalty as Blues introduced international backs Evans and Willis Halaholo in an attempt to reverse their fortunes.
It didn’t pay immediate dividends as Cardiff were reduced to 13 when Harries was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on.
Davies kicked his third penalty before Harris returned in time to see his side regain the lead when their replacement Williams crashed over for Evans to succeed with the crucial conversion.
Dragons’ replacement hooker Lawrence was then sent off for a high challenge before Davies was wide with a penalty attempt from inside his own half to leave Munster and Benetton as the only two sides to win their opening two fixtures in the Rainbow Cup.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Williams 2
Cons: Thomas, Evans
Con: S Davies
Pens: S Davies 3
Red cards: Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues, 45); Rhys Lawrence (Dragons, 73)
Yellow cards: Jason Harries (Cardiff Blues, 60)
Cardiff Blues: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Jason Harries, 13 Owen Lane, 12 Max Llewellyn, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Ben Thomas, 9 Jamie Hill, 8 Sam Moore, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Kirby Myhill (captain), 1 Rhys Carré.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Will Davies-King, 19 Teddy Williams, 20 James Ratti, 21 Ellis Bevan, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Willis Halaholo.
Dragons: 15 Ioan Davies, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Aneurin Owen, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ross Moriarty (captain), 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Taylor Davies, 1 Josh Reynolds.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Dan Babos, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Jack Dixon.
Referee: Mike Adamson
Assistant referees: Dan Jones, Mike English
TMO: Sean Brickell