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Weekend Review

I Like That Rubin, Rubin!

I like that Rubin, Rubin!

I like that Rubin, Rubin!

I like that . . . Rubin!

Cardiff City fans have always had a bit of a soft spot for Rubin Colwill and they like him even more after he scored one of the best goals of the season so far at the weekend.

The 21-year-old Wales international picked up the ball on the left, dragged it towards him, lifted it between two bamboozled Bristol City defenders and then blasted it past a startled goalkeeper from a tight angle.

That goal confirmed a 2-0 win for the Bluebirds in the Severnside derby and lifted Cardiff up to fifth in the Championship table after back-to-back victories.

It was a result that proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson, who was sacked 24 hours later.

Colwill’s goal was his first in the league since March 2022 and comes after Bulut said he needed to see more defensive strength from the midfielder as well as from striker Callum Robinson.

“I was clear what I wanted from those two players,” Bulut said.

“Defensively they are doing much better than before. I am expecting this because we are 11 on the field and I need 11 players, not 10.

“They understand what I want. I am honest with my players. I don’t tell them anything else. I tell them exactly what I want. The good thing is that they try to give me back what I want from them. This makes me happy.”

 It was a five-star weekend for Wales’ leading four football clubs, who all won to boost their respective league campaigns.

Swansea City also silenced some of their critics as a superb goal from another Wales youngster – Liam Cullen – gave them a 1-0 win at Blackburn Rovers.

Swansea had lost back-to-back home matches to Leicester City and Watford, but Cullen says they are now capable of winning games when not at their best.

“It’s our first win here in 52 years, so it is a big win for us,” said Cullen.

“It may not have been as pretty as we would have wanted it to be, we were a little bit scrappy in the second half, but we dug in and three points is three points.

Wrexham won the battle of the clubs who came up into League Two from the National League, as they went to Notts County and earned a notable 2-0 success.

Elliot Lee and Ollie Palmer scored the goals that moved Wrexham up to third in the table, inside the automatic promotion places.

Manager Phil Parkinson said: “I think it’s up there in terms of wins in my time as a manager at Wrexham because we’ve had a lot of disruption this week.

“To have all that disruption and put in a performance like we did is enormous credit to the lads.”

Newport County made it a clean sweep for the Welsh sides with a 2-0 win at Gillingham that was marred by racist abuse directed at County striker Omar Bogle.

Bogle had scored twice from the penalty spot before he was verbally abused by a home fan, an act which Gillingham later said would result in a lifetime ban.

Good weekend for Newport – not so good for their co-tenants at Rodney Parade, the Dragons rugby region.

Dai Flanagan summed it up when he told his players they need to “stop being an almost team.”

The Rodney Parade coach claimed they almost scored a try and almost denied one for Cardiff, which might have “almost” given them their first derby victory over their biggest rivals for nine years.

Instead, Cardiff coach Matt Sherratt celebrated as his team won a 17th successive derby clash against the desperate Dragons.

The BKT United Rugby Championship clash between the rivals went the way of all the others since 2004 with a 16-9 win for Cardiff.

Flanagan said: “We came in with a plan, but we lost three players really early so I’m really proud of the way the players adapted and we nearly found a way.

“The bounce of the ball went one way for their try and against us for a possible score, but we need to stop being an almost team.”

It was a second successive home defeat for the Dragons and Cardiff’s opening win of the campaign.

Returning Wales World Cup centre Mason Grady scored the only try of a dour contest.

Sherratt said: “It was about getting the job done. It certainly wasn’t a classic, but derbies rarely are in terms of attack and attacking flair. However, we ground it out.

“We kicked well given the strong wind and the Wales boys coming back made a real impact.”

There was also a first URC win of the season for the Ospreys who bounced back from defeat at Connacht to earn a bonus point victory at home to Zebre.

It was too close for comfort, though, as the Italians outscored the Ospreys by five tries to four, but lost out in the goalkicking stakes to go down, 34-31.

But while the Ospreys and Cardiff enjoyed wins in Wales, there was a second heavy defeat for the Scarlets in South Africa.

They lost 52-7 against the Stormers in Stellenbosch, conceding eight tries to go along with the nine they had leaked in defeat to the Bulls the week before.

The South African sides are all without their World Cup-winning Springboks, while the Scarlets don’t have their Wales players, either.

But the strength and depth of rugby in South Africa is proving more resilient at present and Scarlets coach Dwayne Peel said: “We were out-muscled, it was as simple as that.

“We were in the game for the first 15 to 20 minutes but errors cost us and we were punished through their power. Physically we just weren’t at the races and we just couldn’t hold on.

The Scarlets were not the only team in red to suffer at the weekend.

Ioan Cunningam admitted Wales Women are “hurting” after a record 70-7 defeat to New Zealand which former international Alecs Donovan said will have “embarrassed” the players.

Cunningham’s team have won plenty of plaudits for their progress over the past couple of seasons, yet they are bottom of their group in the new WXV1 tournament Down Under with one game left to play, against Australia.

They were over-run by a New Zealand team who were on a different level as the Black Ferns ran in 12 tries, with just one in reply from Abbie Fleming.

Cunningham admitted: “It was a tough loss. We are hurting quite badly but it is a steep learning curve and we are here to develop and hopefully close that gap.”

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