The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The expression "a game of two halves" is often used, but "a game in each half" is not a phrase you will hear very often. However this was the occasion when both Wales Students and Cardiff Demons faced up against the RAF at Abercynon RFC on Wednesday night. Wales Students were originally due to play the whole match but due to an injury crisis, only 14 fit men were able to turn out. Because of this, the Demons stepped in to help and it was agreed that the Wales Students would play in the first half and the Demons in the second. The first half was a tight affair with both defensive lines in top form. Missing two penalties in the first quarter of the match, the RAF finally took the lead in the 23rd minute. Gavin Evans stormed to the line with a 50-metre run but was superbly tackled by Matt Jackson. From the resulting play-the-ball, Daz White set up Will Greenwood who stormed through on the left-hand corner. Wales fought back and took a 6-4 lead seven minutes later after Mark Dando powered through. Dean Scully kicked the conversion. However, the RAF went in with a 10-6 lead after a try in the final play of the first half after Daz White, on Cardiff Demons books but playing for his employers, the RAF tonight, ran past three to place in the corner. Damien Clayton successfully kicked a tricky conversion. The match was far more open in the second half as both sides showed attacking flair that was sorely missing in the first. Once again, the RAF were first on the scoreboard after Chris Gordon took advantage of a defensive lapse to ground. Clayton added the extras before scoring a penalty five minutes later to give the RAF a two-try cushion. The lead increased again on 59 minutes after Keiron Kavanagh easily broke through the defence to score under the sticks. Daz White converted. Cardiff Demons eventually got on the second half scoresheet after two tries in five minutes. First Matt Jackson placed the ball under the sticks after breaking through, then Graham Hughes powered over with a try in the corner echoing his Shield Final winner last September. Gareth Jones converted the first of the the two bringing the score back to 16-24. Both sides had chances for more tries but it was the RAF's Will Greenwood who completed the scoring with a minute remaining. So the match finished with three sides taking away different scorelines. In the case of the RAF, they won 28-16 with Wales Students and Cardiff Demons losing 6-10 and 10-18 respectively. For Cardiff, it was their first proper run-out before the new season and they will go away the happiest of the two Welsh sides, especially with man-of-the-match Daz White waiting in the wings to turn out for them against Bridgend on May 1. For Wales, a lot of work needs to be done if they are to compete with Australia and New Zealand in the Student World Cup this summer. RAF Scorers: Tries: Greenwood (23, 79). White (40), Gordon (50), Kavanagh (59), Goals: Clayton 3/6, White 1/1. Wales Students Scorers: Tries: Dando (30). Goals: Scully 1/2 Cardiff Demons Scorers: Tries: Jackson (64), Hughes (68). Goals: Jones 1/2. Referee: Colin Neale (Rhondda).