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Sherratt pleased with character and resilience

First Team News | 2nd December 2023

Matt Sherratt was proud of the character Cardiff displayed as they salvaged a losing-point despite Ellis Jenkins’ first half red card.

The open side flanker was unfortunate to see red after a tip tackle on Dan Davies, in which his opposite number jumped into contact.

Jenkins had been raising to his feet after tackling Steff Evans and without seeing Davies, made contact, which flipped the returning flanker well past the horizontal. 

Referee Ben Whitehouse deemed it was reckless and gave the influential Cardiff man his marching orders on 28 minutes. 

It was a frustrating decision for the home side, who had raced into a 14-0 lead, but Sherratt was proud with the way they reacted to the adversity and stuck in the fight. 

He said: “I wouldn’t say I’m pleased but I think it showed the character of this team. Undoubtedly playing with 14-men for that long had a bearing on the game.

“I think it was 28 minutes, the red card. I said to the players at the end there to go just over 50 minutes and stick in it as a one score game and take something from the game (is pleasing).

“It’s pleasing because at half time it could have unravelled if we'd have taken our foot off the gas and mentally given up on the game. It could have got messy because as you saw they’ve got some really good attacking players.

“Look when you watch it live it doesn't look great does it? As you see see someone stands above the head it's not a great look but when you actually look at it and slow it down. He's jumped into the tackle, so he jumped onto Ellis's shoulder. 

“Ellis isn't a dirty player, so it's not something that is going to be deliberate. It was just a split second he jumped into it and kind of rolled Ellis's shoulder and then you couldn't really see the landing. 



“The TMO said he landed on his shoulder and then his head, but Ben thought it was reckless and a red card. So if I'm honest, not something I'm going to majorly argue with. It didn't look great in full speed, but I think when it's reviewed and they have a good look at it, they'll see that there are some mitigating factors behind it.”

Cardiff came flying out of the blocks in front of more than 8,000 at the Arms Park and could have led by even more following early tries from Tomos Williams and Cam Winnett. 

Sherratt believes his side played glimpses of their best rugby but also slipped away from the game-plan and into loose periods which suited the Scarlets. 

And while another slender defeat is undoubtedly frustrating the Cardiff head coach remains focussed on the big picture and believes the club are moving in the right direction.

“We weren't ruthless enough tonight. At 14-0 we had a real opportunity to kind of put your foot on their throat if you like. If we'd have got another three and we'd have been defensively more sound for that 10 minute period after our scores, I think the game could have tipped more in favour of us.

“The first quarter and the third quarter were our best. We started the game on fire didn't we? I think 15-20 metre drive, scored off the next phases, a little back-peel that we scored off.

“Then we maybe got a little bit carried away with ourselves and threw a couple of longer passes and tried a couple of crossfield kicks that weren't clear and obvious. 

“That's where we were just off structurally a little bit and if there's a bouncing ball against the Scarlet's and it gets a bit loose with Fifita, McNicholl, Ioan Lloyd, Steff Evs, Gar Davis, they're a team that can score three tries in 10 minutes.  I felt that we probably played a little bit of a game that brought those boys into it. 

“If I'm honest there's probably three games, Benetton, Bulls and this one where I feel that we should have won rather than could have won. As I said the red card in this one, a high tackle in the first one and then the Bulls so we could look a lot healthier.

“But I'm fairly pleased when I look at the start of the season, we asked for two things we're playing a brand of rugby that people like watching. There's 8,000 people here today and that's because we've played a good brand of rugby.

“For seven games we show fight and we have today - so can't fault the players on that and we're blooding youngsters.

“Take the league table out of it and take results out of it which is difficult I know because that's what people look at but the club's got a plan, we're in a pretty decent place big picture-wise.”