NTU struggle on the road to Cardiff Met

After a long trip down to Cardiff, it was time for NTU to face their second test in the BUCS Super Rugby. As like last year, conditions weren’t great. It was wet, cold and windy. The game kicked off just after seven with NTU not wanting to make the long journey home empty handed, however Cardiff had other ideas.

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Photo credit: Chud Photography

The first 10 minutes saw Cardiff give away numerous penalties that allowed NTU to kick to the corner. This eventually lead to a successful driving maul from the line out which saw Cecil Macarthy ease over the line. The conversion was missed but NTU couldn’t have asked for a better start. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to use their momentum, and gave away two needless penalties for not rolling away and collapsing the scrum right in front of the sticks. Two easy kicks for Cardiff meant the game was now NTU 5 – 6 Cardiff.

A turn in the tide now saw the home side bring sustained pressure to NTU, which lead to a Cardiff scrum five metres out. NTU couldn’t stand their ground in the scrum and Cardiff were awarded a penalty try: NTU 5 – 13 Cardiff. From the restart, NTU were on the back foot again. Cardiff weren’t afraid to let their backs do the work, and they were making ground. As Cardiff reached the 22, NTU’s defence held strong and they didn’t look like they were going anywhere. Then the Cardiff 10 played a soft little grubber that was picked up from the 12 who offloaded, and Cardiff were over the line once again. The kick was good and Cardiff were in a deserved lead, NTU 5 – 20 Cardiff.

There were ten minutes left of the half and NTU could have done with a score to give them a boost going into half time. However, another silly penalty was given away in front of the posts and the Cardiff 12 wasn’t going to miss this. The half ended NTU 5 – 23 Cardiff.  A repeat of last week’s performance summed up the first half seeing NTU struggle to get anything going and not being able to find their form.

The second half got under way and NTU needed to start working through the gears to stand any chance of winning this game. A penalty to Cardiff early on allowed them to kick for the corner and put pressure on NTU straight away. They managed to clear out and not concede but it felt like Cardiff were going to control the game like they did in the first half. As like last week against Exeter, the line-outs weren’t a strong point, and 12 metres out wasn’t the best place to lose one. A few easy pick and goes from Cardiff and they were over the line to what was probably the finishing blow to any NTU comeback. The Cardiff 12 obviously had his kicking boots on, as he slotted it over to make it five for five, and NTU 5 – 30 Cardiff.

The only thing left to galvanise the NTU players was the possibility of bonus points. This kicked in when NTU finally started to put some quick phases together and put pressure on the Cardiff defence. This forced them to concede a penalty and NTU were able to kick for the corner. A five-metre scrum was then awarded to NTU which allowed them to take the last bits of energy they had and Jake Farnworth went over the line for his second try. The kick was missed but there was still 20 minutes left for NTU to score two more tries for potential bonus points.

From the kick, NTU looked like they wanted to take the game to Cardiff for the first time. A few penalties given away by Cardiff meant that NTU could kick for the corner and apply some pressure. Phase after phase, NTU kept grinding and eventually this lead to a gap in the defence for Harrison Wells to go over for his first try for NTU. The kick was missed but there was still five minutes left and NTU were still in with a chance of a bonus point: NTU 15 – 30 Cardiff. Unfortunately, the last five minutes saw Cardiff slow the game down and NTU had no real opportunities to make a break. The game ended NTU 15 – 30 Cardiff.

A frustrating game for NTU where injuries and players out of position may have played hindrance to the final result. Most of the game was played in the NTU half as they lacked discipline, which cost them territory, and essentially the game. The boys will be disappointed with their performance as they look to pick their heads up for next week’s game against Leeds Becket. It may take a few more games for NTU to find their feet in the league and start playing the rugby they know they can play.

Next game: NTU v Leeds Beckett - Wednesday 11 October, 3.30 pm, Lady Bay (H)

Ben Kaluza (Rugby Union Marketing Assistant)

NTU struggle on the road to Cardiff Met

Published on 9 October 2017
  • Category: Sport

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