Cardiff fightback falls short as Welsh club well beaten by the Lions

A disappointed Theo Cabango of Cardiff -Credit:Huw Evans Agency
A disappointed Theo Cabango of Cardiff -Credit:Huw Evans Agency

A superb individual performance from Cameron Winnett couldn't stop Cardiff from slipping to a 34-13 defeat to the Lions in South Africa.

The Wales full-back has been a shinning light in a difficult season in the Welsh capital and he was excellent again as was backrower James Botham who will surely be considered for a place in Warren Gatland's squad to tour Australia this summer. Cardiff took a beating against a powerful and dynamic Lions side in the first-half but fought back well after the break only for their lineout to let them down in critical moments of the game.

The Lions started extremely well and after breaking from deep Ruan Venter powered over from short-range for the first try of the game which Sanele Nohamba converted. Cardiff were caught napping when Morne van den Berg took a penalty quickly before launching the ball upfield for Quan Horn to score.

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Nohamba kicked another six points but Cardiff held the upper hand during the opening stages of the second-half as they began to build some pressure in the Lions 22. Tinus de Beer kicked the first points for the visitors when then claimed their first try of the game when Wales prop Corey Domachowski showed his strength to smash his way over from short-range.

De Beer added the extras and Cardiff's tails were up as they continued to put their South African hosts under pressure. Cardiff lay siege to the Lions try line but didn't quite have the raw power to get over the try line.

Matt Sherratt's won a scrum penalty in front of the posts and opted to go for the posts with de Beer making it a one-score game. Cardiff had the Lions on the rack with one sensational 50/22 from Winnett earning the Welsh club a lineout five metres out. This was Cardiff's chance to really get level with their hosts but the lineout was picked off with the Lions and the Welsh club proceeded to cough up possession at the set-piece.

The Lions had weathered Cardiff's storm and after going through the phases in the Welsh sides 22 Emmanuel Tshituka broke their defence to score. By now the altitude was beginning to have an effect on the Cardiff players and Tshituka touched down for his second try to seal the home side's victory.