Round 3 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup between the two top teams in the Pool was billed to be a hotly contested affair and despite the appalling weather conditions in the Welsh capital, it was Cardiff Blues who prevailed, running out convincing winners 28-3.
Both teams started with intent but it was the home side that were to break the deadlock first after just two minutes, fly-half Steven Shingler knocking over a simple penalty. 3-0.
The home side then went on to enjoy a period of early possession and despite some good defending by Bath, referee George Clancy awarded the Blues another penalty which Shingler kicked with ease. 6-0
Bath looked to have got themselves a foothold in the game when, after a dominant scrum and some good work by Max Lahiff, they were rewarded with a penalty - Tom Homer dispatching the successful kick from the tee. 6-3.
The rest of the half was a lively affair with both sides intent on trying to play running rugby but Cardiff made their superior possession count, Shingler once again on target with a penalty. 9-3
As the half drew to a close, Bath were agonisingly close to breaking the try deadlock. A sniping run by Semesa Rokoduguni, cut the defence open and a great offload to the supporting Max Clark had the Cardiff defence scrambling but the ball was turned over and Cardiff cleared.
Half-time score: Cardiff Blues 9-6 Bath Rugby
Buoyed on by the home support, Cardiff were quickest out the blocks in the second half and deservedly scored the opening try of the game. Some great work by the backs spread the ball quickly out wide and Matthew Morgan crashed over in the corner. Shingler was again on target with the conversion. 14-3.
With conditions worsening, it didn’t take long for Cardiff to register their second try, this time through Alex Cuthbert. The ball bounced favourably for the Welsh International, leaving the Bath defence stretched. Shingler made no mistake adding the extra two points. 21-3
With time running out on the clock, Bath tried to salvage something from the game but Cardiff, who had played the conditions to their advantage, scored their third and final try through replacement prop, Scott Andrews. After some patient build up play through the forwards, they got their reward and Man of the Match, Shingler converted.
Cardiff now take a five point lead into the reverse fixture at the Rec next Thursday and in his post-match press conference, Director of Rugby Todd Blackadder emphasised the importance of putting things right next week. “We’re obviously very disappointed with the result and it was our worst performance of the season. Credit to Cardiff who played the conditions and did the basics better than us. I know we’re a better team than what we showed tonight and we get the opportunity next Thursday to put things right and with a few key individuals coming back into the fold, we are looking forward to the game.”
Full-time score: Cardiff Blues 28 - 3 Bath Rugby