Cardiff RFC Season Review 2015 - 2016

 

Season 2015-2016

Played: 32

Won:12

Lost: 20

Drawn: 0

Points For: 694 

Points Against: 952

League Finish: 9th

The 2015 / 16 season was Cardiff RFC’s 139th. It started with a return to an old competition as Cardiff entered the Cardiff & District 7s in mid-July. Cardiff had been previous winners but had not entered the competition for over 15 years. It served as a very useful warm up for the Foster’s Premiership 7s which were again held at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park in late  August as the Blue & Blacks waltzed through their pool that contained Barry and Cardiff Saracens. In the semi-final Glamorgan Wanderers made life tough and only two very late tries by tournament top scorer Ceri Young securing passage through to the final. St Peters had made the final of the tournament which was being staged at their home ground but despite a vocal local crowd they were unable to stop the Blue & Blacks securing the title. And winning the trophy for the first time since 1951. James Loxton was named as player of the tournament.

A pre-season training game against Merthyr followed the week after with both sides running various plays and set piece moves before the Blue & Blacks moved on to a friendly against a very strong Coventry side. In the sunshine at the Arms Park Cardiff, who were without several of the first team, could only manage a Chris Williams try in response to Coventry’s seven tries. A week later and the sun was still shinning at Priory Lane as the Blue & Blacks again went down to a defeat against Rosslyn Park, this time though two tries from young wingers Terri Gee and Luke Morgan gave the losing score line a bit of respectability.

The Foster’s 7s the Blue & Blacks went out of the Cup competition in the first round but progressed to the semi-final of the Bowl. There they were defeated by Neath who eventually lost to Bowl winners Llanelli, Llandovery triumphing in the Cup competition.

This season was to one of change for the Blue & Blacks and the Premiership. An experimental scoring system was put in place for the Premiership matches in an effort to encourage more scoring of tries. Each try was now worth 6 points but a penalty and drop goal were reduced to 2 points each. A new Cup competition was also introduced as Regional Select XVs rather than clubs took part in the British & Irish Cup.  Add to that the Rugby World Cup and the tented village on the Arms Park for the first two months of the season and it was to be life on the road for Cardiff in September and October.

The first away day was at Talbot Athletic ground were the visitors struck early on for the Aberavon rolling maul to crash over a few times to secure victory. A week later though at a dry Pandy Park Cardiff came away with a bonus point win, securing four tries through James Murphy, Johnathan Edwards, Chris Knight and Jack Phillips. The win though was built around a heroic defensive effort that held off concerted pressure in the dying minutes on the try line. A second bonus point win was recorded a week later at Parc-Y-Scarlets where Llanelli were at one point reduced to 13 men. Two penalty tries and one each from Johnathan Edwards and Chris Knight securing a 30-24 victory.

The customary season win against Neath at The Gnoll in the sunshine followed. Having not beaten Neath for several years in the league but the last few years have seen the Blue & Blacks take the spoils. This season was to be the same and a bonus point win was recorded as Macauley Cook scored a brace to go along the yet another Johnathan Edwards try and one from Harry Davies. At Eugene Cross Park the following week though the Ebbw Vale pack were in complete command and using the driving lineout – which was to be the theme of the season due to the new scoring changes – they took the Cardiff eight apart in a 34-22 win.

A week later a Cardiff were back on their winning ways this time at Carmarthen Park. A first half that included three tries (Scott Andrews, Will Rees-Hole & Jack Phillips) put the game beyond the Quins before half time. Chris Knight’s try securing the bonus point. But the Blue & Blacks were to suffer their heaviest defeat of the season at Bridge Field a week later. Bedwas were in total control as the amassed 56 points. Cardiff simply had no answers. Another week on and another loss, this time in a close fought game at the Brewery Field. Cardiff raced into an early lead scoring two tries before the Ravens took control of the second half to win 22-14 and leave Cardiff with just a bonus point.

Cardiff returned home on Halloween with a fixture against the oldest enemy Newport. In a great advert for the Premiership both sides played attacking running rugby nine tries were scored. Five of them by the Blue & Blacks. Four were scored early in the second half when it looked as if they would run riot for the second season running in this fixture, but the Black & Ambers fought back with three late tries of their own to create a thrilling finish. The home side eventually winning 36-28. Cross Keys were next at the Arms Park and they gained revenge for their early season defeat despite a brace of tries from Luke Ford.

The new Foster’s challenge Cup was the focus for the next two weeks as Cardiff started the competition with two wins. Bridgend away was first up where Cardiff recorded a 16-10 win in a game dominated by a strong wind blowing down the ground. Aberavon at home the following week earned the Blue & Blacks a bonus point win as again the period just after half time proved productive. Three tries in ten minutes seeing off the Wizards challenge.

Late November to mid-January proved to be a tough time for the Blue & Blacks. No wins in seven games as they slipped down both the Premiership table and off the top of the Challenge Cup Pool table. Three games in three weeks against Pontypridd though showed how the team were learning as they can closed twice to beating the league leaders. The league game on Boxing Day going the way of Pontypridd 18-8 but if one pass that went into the wrong hands went into Cardiff’s hands and the result could have been so different. Cardiff’s game against Llanelli the first weekend of January seemed to have a Christmas hangover to it as Cardiff gifted Llanelli three tries as they went down 32-40.

The Blue & Blacks also went out of the SWALEC Cup in January. The draw gave them a difficult game in round one with an away trip to eventual winners Llandovery. On a wet day it was the kickers who decided the game. James Thomas’ two penalties weren’t enough as Llandovery’s Jack Maynard landed three penalties in a 9-6 loss. The end of January saw a return to the Fosters Cup. Two wins against Aberavon and Bridgend were enough to secure a semi-final place as the best placed runner up. That game was against Pontypridd in April and the fourth meeting proved to be one of the best as the Blue & Blacks outplayed Ponty for most of the game, only a late penalty sending the game into extra time. Pontypridd though dominated that period to go through to the final.

At the end of January a very poor Neath side were dispatched at the Arms Park again with a bonus point win. 5 tries, Ben Thomas, Johnathan Edwards, Tom Slater, Richard Smith and a penalty try were scored to a solitary Neath score. But the driving maul, which had become such a regular set piece through the season was in evidence again over the next few weeks as first Ebbw Vale then Newport used it to great effect to win games at the Arms Park. The highlight though of the Ebbw Vale game was Tom Slater playing his 100th game for Cardiff RFC. In between a heroic defensive effort put pay to a Bedwas fight-back. Three tries (Nick White 2 and Cam Dolan) giving the Blue & Blacks a 26-22 win.

Against Pontypridd Cardiff dominated the game but just couldn’t put Pontypridd away. Three tries gave the Blue & Blacks an advantage early in the game but Ponty came back with four tries of their own. The last minute though saw the defining moment as with an overlap wide out Cardiff were called back for a debatable forward pass that would have seen them win the game. Bridgend and Carmarthen both came to the Arms Park and ran the ball to great effect, both securing bonus point wins before Cardiff did some running of their own in the final game of the season beating Llandovery. Tries by Richard Smith (2), Cam Dolan, James Loxton – who also completed his 100th Cardiff Rugby game during the season – and young debutant prop Rhys Carre giving the Blue & Black a 40-34 win and 9th place in the league.

In all Cardiff used 78 players in the season with nine players earning their caps. Ben Thomas, Joe Tomlinson, Joe Jones, Ceri Young, Marc Breeze, Chris Williams, Rob Lewis, Callum Hall and James Thomas will all receive their caps at the end of season club dinner.

Ben Thomas was top of the appearance list with 31 games, 28 starting and 3 as a replacement. James Thomas headed the scoring chart with 80 point and Luke Ford was top try scorer with 9.

Next season will see an expansion of the Premiership with 4 sides being added. And we now know that Swansea, Merthyr , RGC1404 and Bargoed will be promoted from the Championship.

Appearances

START

REP

TOTAL

BEN

THOMAS

28

3

31

JAMES

MURPHY

25

5

30

JOE

TOMLINSON

13

14

27

JAMES

LOXTON

21

4

25

JOE

JONES

13

12

25

JOHNATHAN

EDWARDS

19

5

24

TOM

SLATER

12

11

23

CERI

YOUNG

20

2

22

NICK

WHITE

16

5

21

MARK

BREEZE

10

10

20

CHRIS

WILLIAMS

10

10

20

ROB

LEWIS

9

11

20

CALLUM

HALL

12

7

19

JAMES

THOMAS

15

3

18

LUKE

FORD

15

2

17

LEWIS

SMOUT

8

9

17

SEAN

DRISCOLL

7

8

15

ALED

REES

5

10

15

OLLIE

SMYTH

13

1

14

MILES

NORMANDALE

11

2

13

MORGAN

SIENIAWSKI

9

4

13

JORDAN

VIGGERS

5

8

13

WILLIAM

REES-HOLE

11

1

12

RICHARD

SMITH

11

1

12

ELIS-WYN

BENHAM

9

3

12

HARRY

DAVIES

9

2

11

JOE

GAUGHAN

5

6

11

MIKE

HALE

5

6

11

NICKY

GRIFFITHS

10

 

10

CALLUM

LEWIS

5

5

10

JEVON

GROVES

8

1

9

GERAINT

LLEWELLYN

5

4

9

JACK

PHILLIPS

7

1

8

ETHAN

LEWIS

6

2

8

TERRY

GEE

6

1

7

JAMES

GOODE

6

1

7

OWEN

LANE

6

1

7

GAVIN

NASH

5

2

7

CHRIS

KNIGHT

6

 

6

THOMAS

DAVIES

5

1

6

JAMES

SHEEKEY

4

2

6

MATTHEW

MARLEY

2

4

6

JAMIE

DE'ABREU

1

5

6

MACAULEY

COOK

5

 

5

JOE

PAGE

1

4

5

SHAUN

POWELL

1

4

5

SCOTT

ANDREWS

4

 

4

CAM

DOLAN

4

 

4

CRAIG

MITCHELL

4

 

4

DAVID

BIRD

3

1

4

CHARLIE

SPRING

3

1

4

JAMES

WHITTINGHAM

3

1

4

GARETH

DAVIES

2

2

4

TOM

ISAACS

3

 

3

LEWIS

JONES

3

 

3

DILLON

LEWIS

3

 

3

MIKE

CONNOR

2

1

3

RHYS

WILLIAMS

1

2

3

TAVIS

KNOYLE

2

 

2

BEN

ROACH

1

1

2

MIKE

STEPHENS

1

1

2

ANDY

DE'ABREU

 

2

2

OWEN

SEDGEBEER

 

2

2

RHYS

CARRE

1

 

1

LEWIS

EGAL

1

 

1

GAVIN

EVANS

1

 

1

TOM

McALOON

1

 

1

JOSH

NOVELL

1

 

1

LOU

REED

1

 

1

WAYNE

DECRUZ

 

1

1

DAFYDD

FRANKLIN

 

1

1

CAI

JENKINS

 

1

1

ALEX

JONES

 

1

1

JAMES

SHAWE

 

1

1

CORRIE

TARRANT

 

1

1

LUKE

THOMAS

 

1

1

ALED

WARD

 

1

1

DAN

WATTS

 

1

1

 

Points

TR

PG

CV

DG

PTS

JAMES

THOMAS

1

9

27

 

80

LUKE

FORD

9

1

1

 

58

 

PEN TRY

6

 

 

 

48

RICHARD

SMITH

8

 

 

 

48

CALLUM

HALL

 

3

13

 

33

JOHNATHAN

EDWARDS

5

 

 

 

30

CERI

YOUNG

5

 

 

 

30

WILLIAM

REES-HOLE

4

 

 

 

24

DAVID

BIRD

 

3

7

 

20

CHRIS

KNIGHT

3

 

 

 

18

GERAINT

LLEWELLYN

 

3

5

 

18

JAMES

LOXTON

3

 

 

 

18

JAMES

MURPHY

3

 

 

 

18

TOM

SLATER

3

 

 

 

18

OLLIE

SMYTH

3

 

 

 

18

SCOTT

ANDREWS

2

 

 

 

12

MARK

BREEZE

2

 

 

 

12

MACAULEY

COOK

2

 

 

 

12

HARRY

DAVIES

2

 

 

 

12

CAM

DOLAN

2

 

 

 

12

ROB

LEWIS

2

 

 

 

12

JACK

PHILLIPS

2

 

 

 

12

BEN

THOMAS

2

 

 

 

12

JOE

TOMLINSON

2

 

 

 

12

NICK

WHITE

2

 

 

 

12

TERRY

GEE

2

 

 

 

11

JAMES

WHITTINGHAM

 

1

4

 

10

CHRIS

WILLIAMS

1

 

2

 

9

ELIS-WYN

BENHAM

1

 

 

 

6

RHYS

CARRE

1

 

 

 

6

GARETH

DAVIES

 

 

3

 

6

NICKY

GRIFFITHS

1

 

 

 

6

MIKE

HALE

1

 

 

 

6

TAVIS

KNOYLE

1

 

 

 

6

MILES

NORMANDALE

1

 

 

 

6

MORGAN

SIENIAWSKI

1

 

 

 

6

JORDAN

VIGGERS

1

 

 

 

6

ALED

WARD

1

 

 

 

6

LUKE

THOMAS

1

 

 

 

5


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