Cardiff Blues under-18 got their Regional Age Grade Championship campaign off to the perfect start, as they toppled defending champions, Dragons, to seal a bonus point victory at Ystrad Mynach on Tuesday.
The hosts had gone undefeated last season on their way to a first Championship crown, but the ruthless Wales’ Capital Region side crossed for four tries to secure a 27-10 victory.
While Ben Burnell did feature in the number 10 jersey, Cardiff Blues will gradually introduce the other four Wales under-18 internationals - Mason Grady, Alex Mann, Jake Thomas and Ethan Lloyd - into the side over the coming weeks.
There is a short turnaround for Aled James and Craig Everett’s side, as they welcome RGC to Sardis Road on Sunday for the second round of Championship action (KO 2.30pm).
Dragons were reduced to 14-men in the opening exchanges, as wing Morgan Mohring was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on, as wing Theo Cabango had his eyes set on the whitewash.
But, despite being a man down, the hosts did manage to break the deadlock with 23 minutes on the clock, with Joe Westwood slotting a penalty.
However, moments later, the visitors took the lead for the first time, and never looked back.
The hosts initially did well to deny Efan Daniel from a close range driving line-out, but two phases later Iestyn Galton wormed his way over for the game’s opening try.
Only two points separated the sides at half time, but the Blues stretched their advantage to 12-3 after the interval, with lock Cai James powering over during a penalty advantage, and Burnell converting.
Cardiff Blues centre, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, who has signed with the region’s academy, was also sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements.
The Dragons side contained a number of last season’s title-winning squad, including wing, Carrick McDonough, who brought his side back into proceedings by touching down in the corner.
Only two points separated the sides, but hooker Daniel put the result beyond doubt as he found a clear path to the try-line from a driving maul, capping off a frantic 10 minutes of end-to-end action.
After Burnell added a further three points from the tee, the visitors sealed the bonus point a minute later. A perfectly judged chip by the outside half bounced into the hands of centre Ryan Wilkins, who had a clear run for the line.
Wing Mohring was shown a red card in the final few minutes for a second yellow card after another deliberate knock on, with replacement Will Jameson also sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements.