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Age Grade Round-Up: Under-18 edged out by Ospreys

Age Grade & Academy | 11th September 2019


Cardiff Blues under-18 suffered their first defeat of the Regional Age Grade Championship campaign on Tuesday, as they were edged out by their Ospreys counterparts in an entertaining affair at Aberavon RFC's Talbot Athletic Ground.

Wales' Capital Region went into the clash with the momentum, having secured maximum points from their opening two games against defending champions, Dragons, and RGC.

In contrast, the Ospreys had registered two defeats in their first two games of the season, against Scarlets and Dragons respectively.

The visitors almost opened the scoring within the first few minutes, as Ben Burnell tested the Ospreys defence with a perfectly weighted dink deep in the 22.

The first to the loose ball was speedster Theo Cabango, who looked to have dotted down on the line, but referee Steffan Evans judged that the wing had knocked on in the process.

Cabango continued to be the danger-man for the Blues, and a handling error from the Ospreys backline almost created another opening for the academy member. 

Full back Cameron Winnett hacked the loose ball downfield, with Cabango showing his footballing abilities, but the ball trickled into touch just meters from the try line.

It was a tense opening 25 minutes in Port Talbot, but the deadlock was finally broken, and to no surprise Cabango finally registered on the scoresheet.

Scrum half Harvey Nash created the opening by finding his way down the blindside from a line-out in his own half. The number nine showed composure to find Cabango, who showed pace and strength to beat the covering defenders and touch down in the corner.

Burnell made no mistakes from the touchline conversion, however the Ospreys came up with an instant reply.

Cardiff Blues were penalised for offside, allowing Luca Caplin to kick for the corner. The Ospreys pack displayed their power at the resulting line-out, with Jordan Evans burrowing over from the base of the maul.

The conversion was wide from Caplin, with the visitors leading by two points at half time.

The Blues were dealt a blow in the early stages of the second half as playmaker Burnell was forced off with an injury. 

Soon after the outside half's departure, Ospreys took the lead, as hooker Oliver Burrows finished powerfully in the corner.

Cardiff Blues bounced back to regain the lead moments later, with Cabango and Nash once again the instigators. The wing made a half break down the left and found the scrum half in support.

He was brought down just short, but managed to keep play alive with an offload to replacement front row Corben Evans who squeezed in at the corner.

The visitors were reduced to 14 men as Nathan Evans was sent to the sin bin after straying offside, following a series of penalties against the Blues.

Aled James and Craig Everett’s side survived the initial onslaught, but minutes later the Ospreys did cross the whitewash, as Luke Weaver slipped his way through the line-out to stretch over.

The losing bonus point escaped the grasps of Cardiff Blues in the final play as Caplin knocked over a penalty to seal a 20-12 win.