By Rosie Foley
There was a lot of talk leading up to this match after the last time these teams played each other. Cardiff won the first-half but Exeter were able to bring it back in the second. This was quite the opposite for their quarter-final match.
Both teams started the game aggressively. Exeter pressured Cardiff’s defence, which showed in the three penalties given away by Cardiff in the first five minutes. Exeter were quick to get points on the board, with a try from a 5m scrum but missed the conversion, 5-0 (13’). However, Cardiff were quick to answer back with wide pass by fly-half James Davies to fullback Owen Williams diving for the line, 5-5 (15’).
A knock on from an Exeter player allowed Cardiff to have the scrum 30m out from their opponents try line. Cardiff cut apart their defence leading to try from wing Marcus Ramage but no conversion, 5-10 (26’). Exeter kept the pressure up with Cardiff giving away even more penalties. Cameron Lewis was given a yellow card for collapsing the maul and multiple infringements by the team (31’). Exeter immediately capitalised on this and were able to get over Cardiff’s try line from a maul, 10-10 (32’). Just before half time, with Cardiff still one man down, Exeter were able to breakthrough Cardiff’s defence and cross the whitewash and get the conversion, 17-10 (38’).
Cardiff restarted the second half with a full team just after 41 minutes. Immediately putting pressure back on Exeter’s defence, cutting through it with Cameron Lewis getting the ball down for their third try and second conversion, 17-17 (43’). Soon after from a smart cross-field kick, Cardiff were able to score again, taking the lead 17-24 (48’).
Exeter’s pressure in the scrum lead to multiple penalties against Cardiff and a try and conversion for the home side, leveling the score 24-24 (58’). Yet again Cardiff spotted the lack of cover behind Exeter’s defence and kicked the ball over with an Exeter player kicking the ball dead, resulting in a Cardiff scrum on the 5m. From the scrum an inside pass from James Davies to George Thomas creating another try and conversion for Cardiff, 24-31 (64’). Exeter were quick to answer with a well worked try leveling it with 11 minutes to go, 31-31 (69’).
With the clock ticking down, Exeter were in Cardiff’s half. Exeter were given the penalty and went for posts. They kicked it through, 34-31 (78’). 1 minute was left on the clock and Cardiff were awarded a penalty, but it drifted wide. The game finished, 34-31 to Exeter.
Co-captains Tom Wilson and Owen Davies were gutted to come away with the loss but were delighted with the boy’s performance.
‘The game was 50/50 the whole way through and could’ve gone either way. We’re gutted to lose right at the end but couldn’t be prouder of the boys’ said Wilson
Davies even stated that it was ‘one of the best performances I’ve been involved in, in my four years at university, everyone left everything out there and couldn’t be prouder of the boys.’
The score wholly reflects Cardiff’s efforts, they put on an outstanding performance but just missed out. The boys can be proud of their performance as it was not only improved from their last game against Exeter, but they have proven their right to have a place in BUCS Super Rugby.