|Cardiff (12) 20|
|Try: Llewellyn, Daci, Summerhill Deceive: Evans pen: Evans|
|Monster (6) 13|
|attempt: O’Sullivan Deceive: Crowley pens: Healy 2|
Cardiff overcame the departure of new player Liam Williams due to injury to defeat Monster in their opening match of the United Rugby Championship.
The Wales full-back was forced off 20 minutes after his debut when he landed hard on his left shoulder.
Tries by Max Llewellyn and Christian Dassey put the hosts in front 12-6 but Jack O’Sullivan’s attempt pushed Monster forward.
Jarrod Evans’ penalty kick regained the lead for the hosts, before Aled Summerhill’s late attempt earned a deserved victory.
A sunlit afternoon in the Welsh capital began with a sigh of relief for Queen Elizabeth II and a rousing round of applause for Eddie Butler, the former Wales captain and legendary BBC broadcaster who passed away this week.
The hosts started brightly and tried on the board within three minutes.
A powerful load from Captain Josh Turnbull and outstanding new recruit Taulupe Valletau created space for Llewellyn. The young center seemed to be holding back at first but he used his strength to dig into the Monster defense and more.
Jarrod Evans was off target with a diversion and Healey made it 5-3 with the first penalty kick after a powerful pass from captain Jack O’Donoghue.
Cardiff continued to enjoy the majority of territory and possession, but twice rejected shots on goal in favor of going into the corner. Either way, their ambition went unrewarded as Monster won a turn close to their streak, before a failed streak lost the second chance.
The visitors started to build some momentum themselves and after winger Liam Combes stopped a short distance from the line, he pushed Helle Monster forward with a second penalty.
But Cardiff regained the lead before the end of the first half with his second attempt after a good move.
Llewellyn lunged through a gap into a short pass and then fed Dacey’s dive booster, and Evans made the additions for a 12-6 playoff advantage.
Faletau, who returned to Wales after his summer move from Bath, has shown his enduring row with some incredible individual moments – first some elegant moves and a sporty offload, then another pass from the ground before Geberber’s kick puts Monster back together again.
Moments later, Wales, the British and Irish No. 8 fired a clearing kick from close to the right touchline that Thomas Young had smashed into, only to try to save from Monster defender Shane Daly to deny Cardiff another attempt.
A fore pass seven minutes left, after a brilliant break from Josh Adams, was Valletao’s first and only foul on a great start.
But Cardiff could not shake off the fanatical visitors.
An hour later, Munster won a penalty kick in the middle of the road and shot it into the corner. A series of close-range drives ended the streak with number eight O’Sullivan dropping, and substitute Jack Crowley turning to put Monster ahead 13-12.
Cardiff rebounded and regained the lead with a simple penalty kick from Evans in front of the exhibitors.
The jittery nerves of the Arms Park crowd finally calmed when replacement center Willis Hallahulu showed some skillful moves on the right to send Summerhill – a late substitute for Owen Lane, who turned his ankle in the warm-up – racing.
Evans missed the transfer to ensure the tension continued for another minute but Cardiff continued to celebrate their first win over the Irish province in four years.
Cardiff rugby club manager Dae Young told Scrum V:
“You can never rule out Monster. Until the last few minutes, a lot of people were putting money on them to get back.
“I’m really happy. We played some good things and matched their physical abilities because we had to.
“Maybe we just needed to be a little more clinical because we had opportunities to make it more comfortable, and we were very close to scoring a few more points.
“But it’s never easy to win against Monster. It certainly wasn’t a perfect performance but it’s a good way to start. We know there are a lot of things to improve and we are not going to get ahead of ourselves, because next week we have to improve again.”
Cardiff captain Josh Turnbull told Scrum V:
“It’s huge to get this win. The big message is to be consistent and if we’re going to do that then we have to support it next week.
“I never thought we’d lose the match. Jarrod could have paid off the points at the end after the last try to make it easier, but we love living on the edge.
“All credit to the boys, they really went deep and we got the W (win) at the end.”
Cardiff: Liam Williams; Aled Summerhill, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Thomas Williams; Rhys Carré, Christian Dassy, Dillon Lewis, Josh Turnbull (captain), Seb Davies, James Botham, Thomas Young, Tulube Valletau
Alternatives: Liam Belcher, Rhys Barratt, Dimitri Arieb, Matthew Scream, Lupiti Timani, Lloyd Williams, Reese Priestland, Ulisse Hallahulu
Monster: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Chris Farrell, Malakai Fikitua, Liam Combis; Ben Healy and Paddy Patterson; Josh Witcherley, Niall Scannell, Keenan Knox; Jane Klein, Finen Witcherley; Jack O’Donoghue (centre), Alex Kendelin, Jack O’Sullivan.
Alternatives: Diarmuid Barron, Dave Kilquin, Roman Salanoa, Tom Ahern, John Hodnett, Neil Cronin, Jack Crowley, Antoine Frisch.
Rule: Mike Adamson (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Ben Brixbear and Mike English (WRU)
TMO: Sam Grove White (SRU)