Cardiff Blues Under-18s kicked-off the first block of the new Regional Age Grade Championship with a narrow 22-20 win over the Newport Gwent Dragons Under-18s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
A hat-trick of tries from Cory Tarrant, Aled Ward, Iestyn Harris and the boots of Ben Jones and Thomas cemented the victory for the home side.
It was a hard fought game as both teams looked to kick the Regional Age Grade Championship off in style.
Cardiff Blues Under- 18s took the lead early on as Ben Jones kicked the game off and the home side quickly put points on the board when, Hooker Cory Tarrant crashed over the line. Jones secured the extras. Both teams looked to play fluent and expansive rugby.
The future Cardiff Blues stars maintained the lead for the first quarter. However, following two successful penalties, the Dragons Winger, James McCarthy intercepted a pass and showed a turn of speed to run from within his own half to cross under the posts. Dragons Loui O’Brien successfully kicked the conversion giving the Dragons a three point lead 10-13 at half time.
Cardiff Blues Under-18s hit back in the second half when Number Eight, Aled Ward crossed the line in the corner from a rolling maul. Ben Thomas secured the extra points to give Cardiff Blues the lead once more after 45 minutes, 17-13.
The second half saw both sides down a man after yellow cards following a number of phases of high tempo rugby and ill- discipline. The home side made the most of this as they furthered their lead when Iestyn Harris dotted down for a try after another successful rolling maul. Ben Thomas’ conversion kick fell just short of the posts.
It was a tense last few minutes with the Dragons attacking and searching for their second try of the game. They were rewarded for their efforts and drew the game to within two points 22- 20.
However, the Cardiff Blues defence held strong despite penalties against them. Finally a knock on by the Dragons gave the Cardiff Blues youngsters the chance to clear the danger and kick the ball out for the referee to blow final whistle. Cardiff Blues Under-18s claimed the win 22-20.
1m Tarrant t Jones c 7-0
14m Jones c 10-0
16m O’Brien p 10-3
24m O’Brien p 10-6
27m McCathy t O’Brien c 10-13
45m Ward t Thomas c 17-13
76m Harris t 22-13
77m Dragons t & c 22-20
Cardiff Blues Under-18s: 15 Garyn Payne, 14 Dafydd Smith, 13 Cameron Lewis, 12 Declan Williams, 11 Connor Jones, 10 Ben Jones (Thomas), 9 Dane Blacker (Lucas); 1 Rhys Carre (Drake), 2 Corrie Tarrent (Harris 65), 3 Harri Dobbs, 4 Caleb Docking (Sier 70), 5 Callum Bradbury, 6 Shane Lewis Hughes, 7 Owain Ellis, 8 Aled Ward
Replacements: 16 Iestyn Harris, 17 Eddie Drake, 18 Ben Sier, 19 Alun Lawrence, 20 Tom Lucas, 21 Ben Thomas, 22 Cameron Gibbon