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Dragons A 21 Cardiff Blues A 37

7th September 2018

Cardiff Blues A secured a convincing victory over their Dragons counterparts in the opening clash of the Celtic Cup at Rodney Parade.

Wales’ Capital Region crossed for five tries, as the back three of Dan Fish, Tom Williams and Aled Summerhill caused havoc in Newport.

Dragons responded with three tries of their own, through Rhys Lawrence and Wales under-20 duo Taine Basham and Jared Rosser.

Richie Rees’ side face a tough task next week, as they travel to Dublin to take on Leinster A at Energia Park, who sealed a 43-28 win over Ulster A earlier in the afternoon.

There were only two minutes on the board when Steven Shingler stepped up to the tee and gave the visiting side an early lead, following a Dragons infringement.

Moments later, the centre was back at it, making no mistakes to double his side’s advantage.

The pressure was mounting on the home side, and Cardiff Blues A were making the most of their attacking opportunities. With 12 minutes on the board, the away side opened up a 13-point lead.

A penalty on half-way allowed Shingler to kick for touch inside the Dragons’ 22. Despite pressure on the line-out, the ball was secured, and a neat move in midfield released Tom Williams on the half break. 

The wing was unselfish in finding the support from Fish on his outside, and the full back had a clear run for the line to dot down.

Dragons enjoyed their first period of attacking pressure, but the stern Cardiff Blues defence disrupted their play when it counted.

Jacob Botica did have the opportunity to put his side on the board, but his penalty attempted was dragged wide.

Cardiff Blues crossed for a second score on the break, as a quick Lewis Jones tap made space on the left, with Shingler making the break. He had support on both sides, and fed Aled Summerhill on the inside.

The wing was caught, but an offload out of the back door found the unmarked Williams, who crossed the whitewash.

Dragons immediately went back on the attack, and Cardiff Blues found themselves a man down when Lewis Jones was sent to the sin bin for not retrieving the 10m from a close range penalty.

The resulting penalty saw Botica finding touch in the corner, and Rhys Lawrence rumbled over from the line-out to put his side on the board.

The Dragons A outside half converted, but a crucial mix up from the home side allowed Cardiff Blues A to cross for a third try.

Deep inside the hosts’ 22, Liam Belcher stole the ball from the base of a ruck and fed Dan Fish on the blindside, with the full back showing his turn of pace to run in for his second of the evening.

Cardiff Blues ran in for the break with an 18-point advantage, but they came out for the second half with all guns blazing.

A high kick allowed Macauley Cook to put pressure on Will Talbot Davies. The full back couldn’t take the ball in the air, allowing Cardiff Blues A to set up camp, just outside the 22. 

Shingler eventually created space for Williams, who had scrum half Jones in support, but the wing backed his pace to run in for his second, and his side’s fourth.

The visitors’ were over for their fifth minutes later, as a kick behind the Dragons defence bounced favourably for Ben Jones.

The outside half couldn’t escape the grasps of the covering defender, but offloaded to Summerhill, who joined his fellow back-three team-mates on the scoreboard.

Williams almost sealed his hat-trick when Lewis Jones broke in midfield, but the scrum-half’s clever kick just trickled out of the wing’s path.

A moment of magic from Talbot-Davies gave his side a consolation score. 

The full back paved his way down the centre of the field, running from his own hald and into the 22. Fish made great work to recover, but the Wales under-20 international offloaded to Tanie Basham, who used momentum to cross under the posts. 

Into the final 10 minutes, strong runs from Fish and Rhys Carre, allowed Ben Jones to switch play with a crossfield kick. The ball was taken by Cam Lewis, who offloaded to Max Llewellyn, but the replacement was held up over the line.

Rosser got the final say on the night, as James Benjamin put the wing in for the hosts' third try.