You know what to expect from Cardiff Met; not in terms of personnel, their deep well allows them to rotate dramatically, and the side at Beddau bore no resemblance to the one that turned out at Cyncoed in the reverse meeting. Met are, of course, involved in the higher reaches of University rugby which sees Wednesdays spent at Exeter or Newcastle or Leeds and there is the need for a large squad. No, what you expect is what was delivered. A high pace, good handling skills and well-drilled set plays. For the students, on this occasion though, Beddau had the answers.
The opening exchanges saw Met flashing the ball about in midfield and trying to work gaps with livewire scrum half James Hall and the big openside Josh Poole heavily involved. Beddau`s first up tackling was good and the tide steadily turned until Beddau won a good scrum giving half backs Francis and Chatham some front foot ball. Powerful centre Gabriel Davies made a bruising incursion and with Jordan Goodwin and Callum Wheeler keeping the move alive it fell to Joe Casella to shake off fringe defenders in forcing his way to the line. Hywel Chatham converted.
The Met response was to try ever more elaborations and to see their best efforts founder in the face of Beddau`s strong tackling. They were awarded a penalty at the breakdown, an area where Beddau and referee Mr Paul Jones found no common view all afternoon, which George Simpson goaled.
When, to ironic applause, Met fell foul of a holding on interpretation Beddau quickly used the penalty to free lock Ryan Bean. His offload released Joe Casella to attack the outside and to return the pass for Ryan Bean to score a good try.
Whilst Jordan Goodwin had left to have a wound attended to Glenn Slater used his cameo to good effect when picking up at the tail of a scrum and galloping powerfully into Met territory. A try should have been scored but a combination of heroic defence and some mishandling got Met off the hook. With Beddau being mercilessly pinged at the close quarter exchanges Met worked their way upfield and were awarded a penalty on the 22 which George Simpson missed. It was 12-3 at half time.
Showing terrific control Beddau`s forwards rumbled a maul from a lineout take near halfway which gathered momentum to the effect that it came to a halt only at the try line with Mr Jones showing a red card to Beddau captain Lloyd Evans. One of a number of Met forwards by now desperately trying to bring the maul down had been under the feet of the marching Beddau pack and, in the referee`s view, not enough care had been taken to avoid contact.
The mothering came to no immediate benefit though as a Met attempt to attack from deep came to grief with Jack Dando picking off an interception and finding the accelerating Tyler Wells for a try that Hywel Chatham converted.
Beddau`s pack had shrugged off the inconvenience of being a man short and continued to boss the forward exchanges until a delightful pass from Hywel Chatham freed Adam Ashford for a try on the left wing. Chatham`s wide angled conversion added salt to the wound.
With around 10 minutes to play Beddau lost tight head Adam Court to the bin for a high tackle and had to play out time with 13 men. At scrum time Number 8 Rob Jones was sacrificed to allow Cerith Jones into the front row. Shoving against 6 Met`s best efforts could still get no change but penalties number 9 and 10 of the second half finally allowed the students to outflank the defence for a try for left wing Tom Benjamin that George Simpson converted. That, though was it. They won the penalty count 18-7 and had more players on the field but the students couldn`t overcome the maturity and ring craft of a developing Beddau.
Report by Lynn West