Cardiff slay Dragons at Arms Park
MATCH REPORT: Cardiff continued their impressive record against the Dragons by taking their winning run in the fixture to 15 matches with a 31-14 bonus-point victory at the Arms Park.
The Dragons have not beaten the capital region since Boxing Day 2014 and their night was compounded by an injury to flank Taine Basham.
Fellow international Josh Adams also left the field with an injury to cause watching Wales head coach Wayne Pivac some concern.
Adams was among the try-scorers for Cardiff, with Rhys Carre, James Botham and Thomas Young also on the sheet. Jarrod Evans converted all four and added a penalty.
Angus O’Brien and Bradley Roberts scored the Dragons’ tries, with JJ Hanrahan converting both.
Evans missed a long-range penalty before his side took the lead and it was the flyhalf’s long pass which gave Adams the chance to evade two defenders to score.
Two minutes later, Cardiff had another. The Dragons conceded their fourth penalty in the opening 15 minutes and the hosts made them pay for their ill-discipline.
From a lineout 15 metres out, Carre brushed away some weak tackling to score under the posts, with a second conversion from Evans giving his side a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Dragons were second best in that period, but they responded by building up their first spell of pressure and were rewarded when a well-timed pass from Hanrahan saw O’Brien force his way over.
The Gwent region then suffered a blow when scrum-half Rhodri Williams was yellow-carded for ankle-tapping Max Llewellyn.
The home side took immediate advantage by moving the ball wide for temporary replacement Botham to power through O’Brien’s tackle for Cardiff’s third try.
The Dragons’ disappointment continued when Basham departed in considerable pain with what appeared to be an arm injury.
After the restart it was Cardiff’s turn to lose a player, with Adams leaving the field holding his wrist before the Dragons came back into contention when Roberts crashed over for their second try.
However, that was as close as the Dragons got as Evans kicked a penalty before making a superb break to send Young away on a 45-metre run to the line to seal a bonus-point victory.
Player of the Match
Young put in a tremendous defensive shift to ensure the Dragons couldn’t make much headway in attack and sealed an excellent performance by scoring his side’s final try, showing exceptional pace to run in from over 45 metres after supporting a clean break from Evans.
Play of the match
Cardiff got off to a quick start which the Dragons couldn’t claw back.
For this they were indebted to Adams, who once again displayed his superb finishing skills.
Receiving a long pass from Evans, he stepped inside O’Brien and Rio Dyer before carrying Hanrahan over with him.
Tries: Adams, Carre, Botham, Young
Cons: Evans 4
Tries: O’Brien, Roberts
Cardiff: 15 Rhys Priestland, 14 Jason Harries, 13 Max Llewellyn, 12 Uilisi Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 Seb Davies, 4 Josh Turnbull (captain), 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Carré.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 James Botham, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Mason Grady, 23 Aled Summerhill.
Dragons: 15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Will Rowlands (captain), 4 Ben Carter, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Bradley Roberts, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Aaron Wainwright, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Steff Hughes, 23 Jordan Williams.
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Rhys Jones (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)