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Match Reaction: Cardiff Blues 19 Scarlets 13

After edging out Welsh rivals Scarlets in the LV=Cup, Cardiff Blues Academy Manager Richard Hodges says his young guns showed everyone what they are capable of.

The Blues battled past Newcastle Falcons in their opening encounter and they made it two wins out of two with their 19-13 victory over Scarlets.

In an edgy encounter Ellis Jenkins’ try was enough to get Cardiff over the line.

It could have been different for Scarlets who took a second-half lead through Sion Bennett but they couldn’t hang on as Cardiff snatched the win.

And, while Hodges knows it was far from a vintage display, he was enthused by his team’s efforts.

“We know a lot about these players but maybe other people don’t. We want to give them exposure,” he said.

“What that second half in Newcastle did was bring the group tight. And I think you saw that tonight in the final two minutes and the way we closed the game out. We’re rightly proud of them.

 “We dug it out and we are two out of two for the competition and in the mix before the Wasps and Leicester games next year.

“There is an element of frustration, I’m sure on both sides, when you get an occasion when there is so much young talent on show but the game never really took-off and got going.

“Defences were solid on either side and we were inaccurate with the ball, particularly in the first half. We only got over four phases three times.

“Just as we were beginning to get into our structures and gain territory we were making errors. That is what we looked to address at half-time.”

Bennett’s score had put Scarlets 13-9 ahead but the Blues piled on the pressure and Scarlets were eventually undone by Jenkins who found some space to run over in the corner.

However, while they weren’t able to secure a late win, Scarlets’ performance skills coach Ioan Cunningham believes his side can walk away from Cardiff with their heads held high.

“It was a frustrating second half but also I’m very pleased with some of the young players and what they produced tonight,” he said.

“We set out to take the game to the Blues and we did show that in patches but couldn’t quite close it off.

“They probably had a little bit more experience in the pack with guys who have played a bit more at this level.

“We were confident in our own ability and the quality we had in the side and I thought that we showed that at time.

“We were hoping to kick on after the try but unfortunately that never came.

“This experience has definitely helped the young boys and hopefully they can kick on from this.”
 
Cardiff Blues: Fish, Williams (Belcher 66), Summerhill,  Smith, Jenkins, Humberstone (Thomas 68), Knoyle (Williams 51), Watts-Jones, Jenkins (c),  Groves, Dicomidis, Normandale (Davies 68), Filise (Andrews 51), Williams, Davies.
Replacements: Thyer, Reed, Roach
 
Scarlets:  Evans, Adams, Hughes, Evans, Williams, Lewis (Jones 56), Davies, Price, Bennett, McCusker (c), Day, Jones, Leung, Elias, Wyn Jones.
Replacements: Harris, Robinson, Sebastian, Osborn, Phillips, Hardy, Warren.
 
Cardiff Blues
Tries: Jenkins
Conversions: Humberstone
Penalties: Humberstone 3, Thomas
 
Scarlets
Tries: Bennett
Conversions: Lewis
Penalties: Lewis 2
 
Referee: Craig Evans 

For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets

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