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RUGBY: Titans pay for lack of discipline
11:04am Monday 9th September 2013 in Sport
THREE yellow cards and a penalty count well into double figures spoilt some fine rugby at Bournemouth's Chapel Gate HQ on Saturday as Taunton Titans went down 42-21 in National League 2 (S).
Playing in glorious sunshine, the Titans at times played some great rugby, the forwards especially having a fine afternoon in the set piece.
However a second half clouded by two yellow cards in as many minutes was to be their undoing.
After a Bournemouth penalty in the second minute, the Titans pack again showed how far they've progressed in pre-season as they responded almost immediately.
A textbook catch and drive in the seventh minute deep in the Bournemouth 22 was superbly controlled for No8 Brett Harvey to crash over. Kingdom added the extras for a 7-3 lead.
A Titans infringement in the loose on 14 minutes was penalised, giving Bournemouth a shot at goal.
Full-back Pollard slotted the three points to bring the home side back into it at 6-7.
Bournemouth then re-took the lead in the 24th minute. A lineout close to the Titans line was fed wide, and with the visitor's backline caught in narrow formation the space was there on the far left for Pollard to glide over. He converted his try for a 13-7 lead.
Titans then lost second row Ben King to the sin bin after 25 minutes for a technical offence. Despite this they regained the lead six minutes later when a scrum in midfield unleashed the back line and winger Jack Claydon finished the move in style in the corner, Kingdom converting.
The second half began with Bournemouth enjoying some extended periods of possession. The Titans pack earned a penalty opportunity in turning over a scrum, but Kingdom was just wide with his long-range kick at goal.
The game turned on its head from the restart. Titans collected the kick, and were on the attack when an inside pass was intercepted by scrum half Sam Hardcastle. He raced away to score under the posts for a shock converted try and 20-14 lead.
Visibly unnerved, the Titans then conceded another as some poor tackling out wide in the back line allowed winger Connolly to race through in the corner. Pollard again converted to stretch their lead to 27-14.
The Titans rallied, and got themselves into a great scoring position four minutes later. However a cynical shove off the ball from Conor Hartley on his opposite number during an attack earned him a yellow card and ten minutes in the bin.
Sixty seconds later Paul Davis was dismissed in similar, but somewhat harsher circumstances when he was alleged to have taken out fly-half Drake after the latter grubbered the ball through the Titans defensive line.
Pollard duly kicked another three points to move Bournemouth further ahead 30-14, and it was only to get worse for the Titans as their remaining 13 players were stretched to their defensive limit and beyond.
In a ten-minute spell that saw Bournemouth ruthlessly exploit their numerical superiority they scored twice more through Graesser and Robinson, the latter going over while Titans had only 12 players due to Claydon receiving on-field treatment for an injury.
As a contest the match was now effectively over, but the Titans were to have the last say once back to their full complement of players.
Kingdom made the initial break followed by several good phases before Jake Woolmore touched down wide on the left.
Kingdom converted well in the gutsy conditions, but it was to be final action of the day.