Cardiff Rugby 31 - 14 Dragons RFC
HT 21-7
Sat 15 October 17:15 Cardiff Arms Park Ref: Craig Evans United Rugby Championship

Cardiff 31 Dragons RFC 14

Sat 15 Oct 2022 19:00 Cardiff 31 Dragons RFC 14

A stunning first-half performance laid the foundations for Cardiff to claim a 14th consecutive BKT United Rugby Championship victory over the Dragons.

Josh Adams, Rhys Carré and James Botham all crossed in an impressive first half at the Arms Park. 

The Dragons responded with tries either side of the half through Angus O’Brien and Bradley Roberts but the Blue and Blacks held on before securing a bonus-point match-winning try in stunning fashion.

Thomas Young finished the length of the pitch effort, which sent the 8,161 attendance into raptures as Cardiff secured back-to-back Welsh derby wins following last weekend’s triumph over the Scarlets.

They face DHL Stormers next, with the reigning URC champions arriving at the Arms Park on Saturday, October 22. 

Cardiff had an early opportunity to open the scoring when Josh Turnbull pointed to the sticks after three minutes but Jarrod Evans’ long-range penalty fell agonisingly short. 

The Dragons had a brief foray into the Cardiff twenty-two as the heavens opened but it was the home side that controlled the early territory and possession.

Following a pair of penalties, kicked to the corner, the Blue and Blacks claimed the opening try. They were unable to roll the Dragons over, but went through a number of phases before Evans threw a long miss-pass to Adams.

The wing had to break his stride to take his pass but it was a world class finish as he effortlessly skipped inside Rio Dyer and then sliced an inside line to the whitewash.

Evans converted the try and he was back at the tee five minutes later as Cardiff continued their perfect start.

Good work from Willis Halaholo earned a penalty at the breakdown and an equally impressive Rhys Priestland kick put Cardiff in the red zone. From the line out Rhys Carré came charing around the corner and he barrelled through a host of Dragons defenders to score beneath the sticks.

Evans added the extras to give his side a 14-0 lead after little more than 15 minutes. The Dragons responded ten minutes later with Angus O’Brien finishing following a long period of pressure. 

JJ Hanrahan converted to make it 14-7 but the Blue and Blacks remained in the ascent. Some electric footwork from Halaholo, paired with a sensational offload, released Max Llewellyn down the wing only for Rhodri Williams to save the day with an ankle tap. 

Cardiff went through two more phases before play was halted and Craig Evans went to the TMO. Following a long period of reviews, in which he checked Williams’ tackle and a potential high shot on Shane Lewis-Hughes, a penalty was awarded.

Williams was yellow carded for making the tackle while on the floor but Ross Moriarty survived with replays showing enough mitigating factors as Lewis-Hughes pivoted and dropped height.

However Cardiff quickly claimed a third try with Kristian Dacey switching direction at the breakdown and firing a long pass, any back would be proud of, to James Botham, who scored with his first touch. 

The flanker, temporarily on for Lewis-Hughes, bowled through O’Brien for a fine try to the delight of his side and the home crowd. Evans was once again on target as Cardiff led 21-7.  

Bradley Roberts burrowed over for the visitors just 10 minutes into the second-half and Hanrahan cut Cardiff’s lead to seven.

The Dragons turned much of the second half into an arm wrestle with both sides struggled to find a decisive breakthrough.

Evans added a penalty as the final 10 minutes approached, to stretch his side’s lead to 10 and calm any nerves of a dramatic Dragons comeback.

And Evans was then the man to manufacture the all important breakthrough as the ball was moved to him from the restart. A trademark break from the outside half saw the playmaker coasting clear, and with the final defender in sight he showed composure to feed Young on his shoulder.

The openside showed an impressive turn of pace, showing the attempting cover defence a clean pair of heels to cap off a BKT Player of the Match performance and secure maximum points for the Blue and Blacks.