Cardiff’s under-17 side treated the Arms Park crowd to nine unanswered tries and some thrilling attacking rugby on Wednesday, as the capital city youngsters made it back-to-back victories in their summer series.
After securing an opening day win over Dragons Red at Ystrad Mynach last week, a combined Blue and Blacks side welcomed Dragons Black to the capital for the second of three fixtures in recent weeks.
Despite the backline grabbing the headlines on a stunning summer evening, it was the pack who laid the platform for success at the iconic stadium.
The hard carrying of centres Ethan Rudyj and Gethin Jones saw the hosts advance into the 22 and, despite being on the front foot, it was an attacking opportunity that called for cooler heads to prevail.
The home side remained patient, showing maturity and allowing the forwards to take over with a series of pick-and-go drives. Chadd Mutyambizi’s side were duly rewarded for their persistence as skipper Owen Conquer snuck past the fringe defence to open the scoring.
Moments later, a line-out inside the Dragons’ half gave the backline a licence to thrill and soft hands from outside centre Jones put Tom Bowen in space down the left hand side.
The full back drew two defenders before releasing the menacing Dan Nzamba, who showed an impressive combination of pace and power to beat three tackles and finish under the sticks.
The Blue and Blacks added a third, with Jones - playing only his second game at 13 - once again at the heart of the action, as his crash ball made a dent in the visiting defence.
While Dragons initially did well to halt Fletcher Barry from close range, the damage was done, as outside half Harri Wilde whipped the ball wide to send Bowen over for his first of the evening.
Cardiff made it a quickfire double from the restart, attacking from deep in their own half. Wilde and Jones again displayed their handling skills with two long passes to send Nzama racing down the left.
The wing beat two challenges on the outside before a perfectly timed pass inside gave Bowen the opportunity to pin his ears back and run in for his second from 30 meters.
Hooker Gavin Parry’s neat pass behind allowed Wilde to find Bowen in space once more, and there was no stopping the full back from securing a first half hat-trick in the corner.
With half time approaching, inside centre Rudyj broke the line from half way and found midfield partner Jones in support. However, the centre was unselfish as he offloaded to serve Bowen a simple fourth.
After the break, the hosts showed their ability to keep the ball alive, as a number of offloads unlocked the Dragons’ defence. With momentum in attack, a kick behind by replacement Eamonn Rogers found space in the back field, and Ben Geraghty joined his fellow back three players on the scoresheet.
The affair did became scrappy while the Dragons outfit continued to show commitment and made it hard at times for the home side.
However, another well crafted team score saw Nzama securing his brace, with captain Conquer’s second rounding off the win for the Blue and Blacks youngsters.