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RUGBY: Titans foiled in hard-fought friendly
6:56pm Sunday 1st September 2013 in Sport
Taunton Titans got exactly the kind of reception expected from hosts UWIC as they battled to a 17-13 defeat at the Cardiff Met sports campus yesterday.
It was just the kind of spiky, aggressive and hard-fought contest that the Titans needed in the build up to the national league season next week, with the Welsh outfit proving stern opponents.
The opening minutes saw the UWIC pack looking to set their stall out early as they camped near the Titans line, using their heavier pack to good effect.
Among a series of attacking five metre scrums they eventually smashed over in open play through their flanker at the six-minute mark to take a 7-0 lead.
The Taunton men drove back, pushing into the home 22 only to be met by some ferocious tackling that was to prove typical of the exchanges in loose play.
After weathering promising attacks spearheaded by the Titans pack for several minutes, UWIC went further ahead after 17 minutes when an uncharacteristic gap opened in midfield, allowing their inside centre to race over between the posts.
The half continued to be an aggressive and sometimes ill-tempered affair, with the Titans not yet firing on all cylinders in the face of an effective UWIC blitz defence.
The home side then went further ahead in the 35th minute with a penalty kick to lead 17-0.
With two minutes remaining in the half, the ever-improving Titans forwards made the breakthrough needed with a fine catch and drive try by Dan Lee.
The second half continued in similar fashion, however with the easterly breeze now at their backs the Titans regularly employed some superb ‘percentage’ kicking by full-back Kingdom to pin their hosts in their own half for extensive periods.
In the 59th minute a UWIC lineout inside the Titans half was fumbled and second row Ben King was quickest to rush forward and claim possession.
A nice offload to Jake Childs saw the flame-haired back-rower make 40 yards. Simple quick hands from the breakdown then released Kingdom to score in the corner to make the score 17-10.
The Titans continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, but again the UWIC defence held firm in defiance of the visitor’s attacks.
With 69 minutes played UWIC conceded a penalty and Kingdom slotted the points to bring the score to 17-13.
The final minutes of the match saw the Titans give it their all to breakthrough for the winning score.
Once more though they were met by a well organised defence that simply refused to give way before the whistle.
This was a tough battle from start to finish, just the kind of hard-nosed affair that should steel the Titans squad nicely as they now enter final preparations for the league season kick off.
Next Saturday, September 7, the National League campaign gets back underway with a visit to Bournemouth.