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Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 11:42 GMT
Wizards sunk by Cardiff craft
John Tait tries to get through the Aberavon defence
John Tait tries to get through the Aberavon defence
Aberavon 16-24 Cardiff

Despite a battling show from Division One leaders Aberavon, Cardiff showed the steel to get through a testing seventh round tie at the Talbot Athletic Ground.

Aberavon were keen to follow the example of fellow First Division side Pontypool, who ended Swansea's interest in the Principality Cup.

Their initial fiery burst saw a punch-up between Richard Morris and the visitors' Jon Humphreys ending in a Wizards' penalty, but Jamie Davies fired wide.

The home side weren't impressed by Cardiff's team selection, and continued to tear into what they considered a second string Blue & Blacks line-up.

Wizards' captain Dan Hawkins was proving a real livewire, and his persistence set up the opening score after 20 minutes.

Aberavon fly-half Jamie Davies
Aberavon fly-half Jamie Davies starts a home attack

The scrum-half robbed Cardiff's Emyr Lewis and his kick set Sam Greenaway free. After the wing was halted, Aberavon spread the ball for former Wales full-back Matthew Back to juggle and dive over. Davies converted.

But five minutes later, Cardiff hit back through Hawkins' opposite number, Ryan Powell.

The youngster, sporting a new blond rinse, burst through some frail tackling to score at the corner, but Robinson missed the conversion.

He made amends three minutes before the break, though, slotting over a simple penalty after a long spell of Cardiff pressure.

And they made it 13-7 with a controversial try from debutant wing Liam Roberts.

The under-21 flier was put clear to the corner, but he looked to have his foot in touch as he grounded the ball following a desperate tackle from Scott Leighton. Robinson converted.

Cardiff's Adam Jones tangles with Chris Gittings, of Aberavon
Cardiff's Adam Jones tangles with Chris Gittings, of Aberavon.

Straight after the break, Robinson slotted over two penalties and Aberavon were called back after Greenaway looked to take advantage of an interception.

But the Wizards did get back on the board with a drop goal by Leighton before Iestyn Harris made a substitute's appearance with 25 minutes left.

He was unable to get into the game, though, as Aberavon used the elements to pile on the pressure.

Davies hit the post with a penalty attempt before the home side changed kickers, and Leighton slotted over a 30-metre kick.

Cardiff were finding it tough to get out of their own half, and Leighton punished another offence with five minutes left.

With the home crowd roaring them on, Aberavon couldn't find that elusive next score and Harris punished them with a stylish penalty against a strong wind.


Aberavon: Try: M Back. Con: J Davies. Drop: S Leighton. Pens: S Leighton (2).

Cardiff: Try: R Powell, L Roberts. Cons: N Robinson (2). Pens: N Robinson, I Harris.


Aberavon: M Back; S Greenaway, S Leighton, B Maddocks, D Griffiths; J Davies, D Hawkins (capt); R Price, J Hyatt, A Clatworthy, D Owen, C Gittins, N Tiatia, R Morris, A Thomas.
Reps: K Allen, G Dix, M Harris, G Newman, S Rees, M Davies, Ricky Price.

Cardiff: R Williams; L Roberts, M Allen, P Muller (capt), A Sullivan; N Robinson, R Powell; P Rogers, J Humphreys, K Fourie, A Jones, J Tait, F Mounier, E Lewis, R Appleyard.
Reps: G Powell, A Lewis, L Tait, D McShane, A Booth, I Harris, C Morgan, A Henry, C Hudson.

Referee: Tony Rowlands (WRU).

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