United Rugby Championship Wrap-up - Round 5

United Rugby Championship Wrap-up - Round 5

Wales hopefuls Thomas Young and Jarrod Evans combined to seal a 31-14 bonus point victory for Cardiff in their derby clash with the Dragons in the BKT United Rugby Championship.
With seven minutes left on the clock at the Arms Park, fly-half Evans made a scything break out of his own 22 before finding support from flanker Young who showed tremendous speed to race in from halfway.

It was a fourth try of the night for the hosts, with wing Josh Adams, prop Rhys Carre and flanker James Botham having crossed in the first half to establish a 21-7 interval lead. Full-back Angus O’Brien and impressive hooker Bradley Roberts were the men to touch down for the visitors.
With first-choice fly-halves Dan Biggar and Gareth Anscombe currently sidelined through injury and summer tourist Rhys Patchell having had limited rugby so far this season, Evans could be back in the mix as a Wales contender when coach Wayne Pivac names his autumn squad on Tuesday, while Young’s Man of the Match display coincided with fellow international openside Taine Basham suffering a suspected dislocated elbow for the Dragons, leaving him facing a lengthy lay-off.
Speaking about the decisive try, four-times capped Young, who joined from Wasps over the summer, said: “I was actually screaming at Jarrod to kick it. He decided to run, so I just ran after him really.”

His father, Cardiff’s director of rugby Dai Young, said: “To be honest, that’s part of Thomas’ DNA. If somebody makes a break, he’s always on their shoulder. That’s his point of difference.
“People who have watched him in the Premiership will have seen him score plenty of them. He hasn’t had the opportunities to play against the Welsh regions on a regular basis. With him playing in England, there was always that doubt whether he could do it against the regions. But I think he’s showed in the last two games (against Scarlets and Dragons) if he does get selected, he deserves it.
“He came back because he wanted to play for Cardiff, his home region, but he also wanted to give himself the best opportunity he can of putting that red jersey on. He can’t do much more than he’s done.”

On the 11-point Evans, Young said: “I thought Jarrod controlled the game well and was pretty disciplined throughout. Then when he spotted his opportunity towards the end, he took it with a real good break. There’s not many better with ball in hand if you want to attack teams. He can unlock defences.”

Wales and Lions wing Josh Adams, who had opened the scoring with a classy finish, left the field with an injury to his wrist early in the second half, but Cardiff are hoping it is not too bad.

Ulster became the first European team to win in South Africa this season when they beat the Lions 39-37 in a ten-try thriller in Johannesburg.

It was five touchdowns apiece, with the 19 points the visitors scored either side of half-time while centre Henco van Wyk was in the sin bin ultimately proving decisive.
Full-back Michael Lowry, who was named Player of the Match, gave his thoughts on a game played out in temperatures of 30 degrees.
“That’s our first time out here in a while and it was incredibly tough. The Lions are very physical and we had to match them physically, so credit to the boys up front. I thought they were brilliant,” he said.

“It was really, really tough at altitude and the heat killed us. It wasn’t perfect, but we dug in there. We will look forward to the Sharks in Durban next week now.”
Coach Dan McFarland added: “I’m really proud of the efforts of the guys because I don’t think many people realise how hard it is to win in South Africa.
“We had a couple of close games over here last year and we did use that as motivation in the sense that we hadn’t got over the line, but we knew we were well capable of it.”
It was Ulster’s first victory in the country since October 2019 when they beat the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in the old PRO14.
Munster also had good reason to celebrate after defeating the Vodacom Bulls 31-17 at Limerick’s Thomond Park, with No 8 Gavin Coombes crossing twice in a bonus point triumph. It was a welcome change of fortune for Graham Rowntree’s team after they had lost three of their first four BKT United Rugby Championship matches.

Ospreys coach Toby Booth has praised the “unbelievable effort” of his players following their 16-16 draw with reigning BKT United Rugby Championship champions the DHL Stormers in atrocious conditions in Swansea.
Veteran fly-half Stephen Myler showed all his experience by converting hooker Scott Baldwin’s late try from near the left touchline as the rain hammered down. That meant it finished honours even, with scrum-half Paul de Wet having earlier rounded off a searing attack to give the Stormers the lead.

Booth said: “I am disappointed for the boys because I thought we gave a good account of ourselves on the whole against a very good team. In our eyes, we probably edged the contest, so we could have got a little bit more out of it.
“But, against the best, you’ve got to be clinical when you are down there and we were probably guilty of not being that and it comes down to a few key moments.

“But, what I will say is the effort and character we showed to get back into the contest in difficult conditions was very pleasing. The effort was unbelievable. I thought we were certainly the dominant set-piece and that’s good because that’s what we pride ourselves on.
“The greatest compliment the Stormers gave us is they flew over international front rowers and that bodes well. The South African boys are the market leaders and we have to raise our standards however we can to try and match that.”

The draw ended the DHL Stormers’ 14-match winning run in the competition. They now remain in Wales to take on Cardiff at the Arms Park next Saturday.

The Scarlets claimed a welcome first win of the season as they beat Zebre 36-12, despite having Tongan international flanker Sam Lousi red carded on 51 minutes for a shoulder to head high tackle. They ran in five tries in all, with fly-half Sam Costelow crossing twice.

Edinburgh also claimed maximum points against Italian opposition, collecting nine tries in a 53-8 rout of Benetton, with Scotland wings Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham both claiming a brace.

In a change to the norm so far this season, only one South African team tasted victory, with the Cell C Sharks recording a 40-12 bonus point win over Glasgow in Durban as try-scoring fly-half Boeta Chamberlain helped himself to 20 points.

It’s Leinster who remain top of the BKT URC table, having made it five wins out of five by beating Connacht 10-0 in Galway on Friday night, with scrum-half Cormac Foley claiming the only try of the game.

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