Home Sport Rugby Fresh 1s Conquer Cardiff

Rugby Fresh 1s Conquer Cardiff

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EURFC 3s 30

Cardiff 8

EURFC 3s battled hard in dire weather conditions to consolidate their lead at the top of the Western 1A BUCS table with a superb 30-8 victory over Cardiff 2s at ‘Fortress Topsham’ last Wednesday.

The kick-off began with Exeter receiving in bitterly cold conditions. The drop kick was taken well by blindside Tom Lawday, who hinted at the dominant performance to come by breaking through several tackles on a bulldozing run. With a gale-force wind blowing, fly-half Charlie Wicks was going to have a crucial role in dictating play. The early moments of the game showed his decision making skills to be more than apt for this challenge.

EURFC were able to play some expansive running rugby, despite adverse conditions. Photo Credit: Daniil Orlov
Despite adverse conditions, EURFC were able to play some expansive running rugby.  Photo Credit: Daniil Orlov

In such conditions, the set-piece was also going to be a key battleground. Exeter gave an early hint that they were ready in this department as well, forcing the Cardiff eight to concede a penalty in the first scrum. Wicks found the corner, but a wayward lineout meant that this came to nothing. Nevertheless, the scrummaging power and technique of Exeter’s pack became apparent, as they turned over Cardiff’s subsequent scrum. This led to another penalty being awarded to the home side, which was this time converted, with full-back Ted Landray slotting over the three points.

Up until now in the game, Exeter had dominated their opponents, but Cardiff began to edge their way into the game. A good move from the visitors led to a break for their winger, who was only brought down just short of Exeter’s line. Sadly, the good work done by Exeter was undone by a schoolboy error; an offside at the 22 metre dropout, giving away a penalty in front of the posts, which was duly taken, levelling the scores.

Nevertheless, the ball-handling of fly-half Wicks was continuing to prove difficult for Cardiff. His clever offloads, dummies and switches led to Cardiff conceding another penalty deep in their 22, which gave the home team the lead again. This was built upon further, as some good phases of Exeter play allowed Captain Matt Blandford to crash his way through to the tryline. The score was subsequently converted, giving Exeter a suddenly convincing 13-3 lead going into half-time.

The second half was all about which team could handle the increasingly worsening weather conditions better. Thankfully, Exeter put in an even stronger performance than their first-half efforts. They began with aplomb, with the backs again showing flair and creativity to break the Cardiff line consistently. It was from one of these breaks that a clever switch out wide gave outside centre Ned Warne a neat finish on the left. Despite the conversion being missed, Exeter had extended their lead to 18-3 and were looking formidable.

The team of first years demonstrated cracking team spirit throughout the encounter. Photo Credit: Daniil Orlov
The team of first years demonstrated cracking team spirit throughout the encounter. Photo Credit: Daniil Orlov

Skipper Blandford was continuing to provide a threat to Cardiff in the loose, his work at the base of the scrum allowing the Exeter backs to put together another lovely move, which was only ended by a rare mistake from Wicks. The captain also created the home team’s next try. His barnstorming run leading to the back play that induced an Exeter scrum on their opponents’ five-metre line. The scrum was driven over the try-line by the Exeter pack, allowing Blandford the easiest of touch-downs from the base.

At 23-3, with only 15 minutes left on the clock, this was effectively game over. Exeter were not finished yet, however, as a brilliant finish from full back Landray capped off a good game for him.

Though they did concede a last minute consolation try from the rapid Cardiff winger, Exeter should be immensely proud of their ruthless second half display. The performance was notable for Exeter’s dominance in all facets of the game. Cardiff were a dangerous team, but they were absolutely outclassed by this brilliant Exeter outfit.

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