By Andrew Collins
August 26 2012
Cardiff Blues went down to their 3rd loss of the pre-season, a week before the RaboDirect Pro 12 season kicks off.
The score-line perhaps flattered the home side, as, in all truth, neither side looked overly impressive.
The West Country club outscored their Welsh visitors 2 tries to one in wet conditions; however the match was really won by their dominance at scrum time.
Three consecutive second half penalties gave Bath a convincing lead, which the Blues never looked like catching.
There were positives to be taken from the match - defensively, the Blues worked hard and kept Bath at bay despite playing the majority of the match in their own half, while Rhys Patchell and Cory Allen both impressed at centre, a position in which the squad looks very weak on paper.
However the real concern was the front row. Tao Felise - returning to his former stomping ground - showed big effort, as always, but he and Nathan Trevett spent most scrums going backwards at an alarming rate. That only worsened as the subs were brought on late in the game. Fans can at least take some comfort in the knowledge that Campese Mafu and Benoit Bourrust will bring serious weight and grit to the Blues pack.
All-in-all it was a good defensive effort, but work will need to continue on the attacking play. The front row will be bolstered when the two new signings come into the squad, and there were encouraging displays from Lou Reed, in the second row, and Rory watts-Jones at flanker - an area which is beginning to look very strong with Warburton, Pretorius, Copeland, Navidi, Hamilton and Young all looking capable of producing on the big stage.
Next weekend’s trip to Connacht will prove difficult, and it may come a week or two too soon for Phil Davies’ new-look squad. However, a victory at the notoriously tricky Sportsground would kick-start the season and would be the perfect lift ahead of the big homecoming match at the Arms Park in a fortnight.
There’ll need to be improvements on Friday night’s performance, but the wet and windy Rec provided the perfect practise for a trip to Connacht!