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Cardiff Blues under-18 maintain winning start following return to rugby

Pathway | 22nd June 2021

Cardiff Blues under-18 maintained their winning start following the return to rugby with a comprehensive victory over their Dragons counterparts at Ystrad Mynach.

After kicking off their Regional Age Grade Championship campaign with a convincing home victory over Scarlets last week, Craig Everett made two changes to the side for the trip to Ystrad Mynach on Sunday.

With both sides heading into the clash on the back of victories over Scarlets, head coach Everett had called on his men to take their game to the next level.

In an impressive display, Cardiff ran in for seven tries with the centre partnership of Louie Hennessey-Booth and Ryan Wilkins proving particularly destructive against their rivals from the east.

The visitors got off to a flying start at the Centre of Sporting Excellence, as Louie Hennessey-Booth picked up where he left off, crossing the whitewash for the opener.

A tap penalty in midfield saw Mackenzie Martin crashing up and taking out a three Dragons defenders, before a well-judged flat pass from outside half Harrison James put Hennessey-Booth in space in the outside centre channel. Having made the initial break, there was plenty of work to do, but the Hartpury College student used a combination of power and foot-work to finish impressively for his second try in two weeks.

The hosts drew level after scrum half Che Hope sniped over, but Cardiff responded immediately as Ryan Wilkins went over for a quick fire double to put his side in the driving seat. Both tries came from handling errors in the Dragons backline, but the centre had to be on red alert to take full advantage and join his midfield partner on the scoresheet.

While lock Joe Cooper struck back for the home side, Cardiff added a fourth on the brink of half time. Heading down the blind-side from a scrum inside the Dragons 22, full back Cameron Winnett drew two defenders before offloading to wing Iwan Pyrs Jones. The Glantaf pupil jinked his way past a couple of Dragons defenders and finished acrobatically for a fine individual score.

Wth 12 points separating the sides at the interval, the next score was always going to be crucial. But once again it was Cardiff who pressured their hosts into making errors, as hooker Harri Williams charged down Sam Berry's attempted clearance. The ball was worked through the hands, creating a clear path for Hennessey-Booth to cross for his second of the afternoon.

There was a further blow for Dragons as back row Lloyd Thomas was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle, and the visitors took advantage of the extra man. Wilkins sealed his hat-trick with a clever snipe down the blindside and the scoring was capped off by skipper Gwilym Evans.

James and Winnett combined down the left, with the full back finding an offload inside to Evans. The academy product had Cooper to beat, but impressively gathered his own grubber kick to finish in the corner.

Cardiff hope to carry momentum into Wednesday's return fixture as they welcome Dragons to The Wern in Merthyr.