Cardiff Rugby 7 - 24 Edinburgh
HT 0-7
Sat 27 April 15:05 Cardiff Arms Park Ref: Frank Murphy United Rugby Championship

Cardiff 07 - 24 Edinburgh

Sat 27 Apr 2024 16:00 Cardiff 07 - 24 Edinburgh

Cardiff Rugby were unable to claim the win they so badly wanted on an emotional day of farewells in the final match of the season at a packed Arms Park.

They were very much in the game at the hour mark with the departing Rhys Carre having charged over early in the second half to level the scores at 7-7.

But play-off chasing Edinburgh muscled over for tries from front rowers Ewan Ashman and Boan Venter in the final quarter to secure the spoils.

In fairness, it was a deserved victory as they had much the better of the game in terms of territory and possession.

It wasn’t the result Cardiff had been hoping for in front of a crowd of 11,218 on a day of goodbyes to a number of long-serving players.

Stalwart forwards Ellis Jenkins and Josh Turnbull are retiring at the end of the season, while fellow Welsh internationals Tomos Williams and Rhys Carre will be leaving for Gloucester and Saracens respectively.

It was flanker Jenkins who was first out of the tunnel for the home side, accompanied by his young son Jack, while prop Carre was the next to emerge, with both players receiving a resounding reception.

After a cagey start to the game, it was Edinburgh who first threatened a score as they went through a succession of phases in the home 22.

But, fittingly, it was Jenkins who snuffed out the danger, winning the kind of trademark jackal penalty which has so illuminated his career.

Winger Theo Cabango was the next to pull off a key turnover after Edinburgh had opted to send a kickable penalty into the corner.

But the visitors’ pressure finally told on 26 minutes when a succession of pick-and-gos culminated in Scotland prop Pierre Schoeman stretching out for the line, with fly-half Ben Healy adding the conversion.

Unfortunately, Jenkins was injured in the build-up to that score and had to leave the field for a HIA, receiving a standing ovation from the bumper crowd.

It was then Cardiff’s turn to apply some pressure as they enjoyed their best spell of the half, but they weren’t able to convert it into points with a couple of key opportunities petering out.

So when Irish referee Frank Murphy blew up for the interval, it was Edinburgh who held a 7-0 lead.

But just three minutes into the second half they were reduced to 14 men when Scotland star winger Duhan van der Merwe was yellow carded for a high tackle on a motoring Cabango.

Cardiff kicked the resulting penalty to the corner and immediately capitalised on their numerical advantage.

Ben Donnell leapt high at the tail of the lineout and popped the ball down to scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou who fed the stampeding Carre.

There was no stopping the powerhouse prop who stormed over for his eighth touchdown of the season, extending his lead as the club’s top try scorer this term.

Outside-half Tinus de Beer added the conversion and it was now all square.

The hosts were then forced into a back-line reshuffle when left wing Harri Millard was helped off with a leg injury, which saw Jacob Beetham coming on in the centre and Mason Grady moving out to the wing.

In his new role, Grady was soon involved in a thrilling foot-race down the right touchline with the reinstated Van der Merwe after a burst upfield from Alex Mann.

It seemed as though Grady might go all the way as he looked to fend off Van der Merwe, but in the end he was pulled down just short of the line, putting a foot in touch as he was scragged. So close, but not quite.

As the contest moved into the final quarter, Edinburgh went back in front through a lineout drive try from hooker Ashman, with Healy converting from wide out and then adding a penalty.

The visitors made the game safe three minutes from time, with replacement prop Venter diving over from close range after a series of forward carries.

And that’s it for another season at the Arms Park.