Cardiff

17 October, 1998

Cardiff Arms Park

London Scottish
scorers
Liam Botham (2)
Andrew Lewis (1)
Dan Baugh (1)
Paul Burke (1)
Gareth Thomas (1)
Paul Burke (4)

Back to winning ways, with a performance of 70% of full potential against a very spirited and well organised team. As a defensive unit, London Scottish were the epitome of what the Allied Dunbar has enforced on English teams - the ability to keep shape in defence, fool the referee when off side and the determination to play for the whole 80 minutes without giving up. Any fool who continues to disparage these games in favour of the Welsh national leagues is deluding themselves. London Scottish were no push overs.

Obviously the performance in the first half was the encouraging part for Cardiff, as once the injuries struck any momentum was lost. All credit to Paul Burke who showed his international class after his nightmare at Sale. It's not since the days of Adrian Davies that the ball been thrown so far wide so quickly. Admittedly, when such high risk moves are tried errors will come (and many did) but we'd all rather watch this than the kick and chase tactics that many of our opponents this season have favoured. As we've been advocating since the beginning of the season, at last Craig Morgan was given a game on the wing. He ate up the space he was given, and stormed past his winger in true Nigel Walker fashion. Give him more games, Ringo!

The first try for Gareth Thomas was an indication of the willingness in approach to spread the ball wide. He brings the ability to make the outside break to the outside centre position - something which Leigh Davies, with his more direct approach seems to lack the confidence to do. After Morgan had left his wing standing, Thomas' support made the try easy. Passing before contact was the key.

Dan Baugh at open side showed us what we're missing when Ringer's fills the No. 7 jersey. His tackling was fierce, support play brilliant, and his driving presence has brought a new variation to Cardiff's game. Has tackle on London Scottish's blind side flanker rated 8 on the Richter scale and as the shock waves hit the stand we all winced in pain! Direct driving from him and the Polish pulveriser proved too difficult for the London Scottish back row which meant many more gaps for the half backs to explore than were available at Sale last week. Burke had an easier ride and make the most of it.

Our scrummaging is quite awesome (good on yer Charlie!), and if I were a prop at Cilfynydd I may be pulling a fetlock in training this week. Dai Young only played half a game yet again - strange for your captain to spend more time off the field than on it. Paul Young was busy at hooker and his throwing-in did improve through the game.

The first half showed fast passing, fast rucking and a very good performance to come to the break leading 17-7 having spent most of the first half playing against 15 Scotsmen (!?!?) and typhoon Charlie. Had Liam Bumtham not decided to tackle Matthew Wintle, it may have been 17-0.

The second half brought another serious injury to Cardiff Arms Park. John Tait's speedy recovery from his neck injury is what we're all hoping for. After Tony Rees and Gwyn Jones, we all become concerned when the stretcher is brought on.

The problems caused by players going legs up did have a silver lining, however. The introduction of Captain Fantastic in an almost 'free' role meant that he could pop up in the most unusual of positions. We saw Humph at centre, but he packed down at flanker, and he still took the ball at outside half. Is there no end to this man's talents?

So, on the whole, this was a loose and scrappy second half which tainted the game a little. The petty and inconsistent refereeing did not help but we're sure this will change next Saturday when we return to a WRU official(!?!). Many injuries and substitutions ruined the rhythm, yet Cardiff still scored 21 points in the second half.

Note: Just a comment on the meaningless WRU competition we're wasting our time with. Why are we entering this competition? Judging by the WRU's vitriolic hatred and vindictive attitude to Cardiff and Swansea, can we really expect anything to come from this? All it takes is a biased, blind referee picking up a few extra brown envelopes from the WRU, a pyscho, drugged-up flanker on speed from up some valley, and a defenceless player lying prone at the bottom of a ruck and we could be looking at the loss of a key player for the rest of the reason. To enjoy a fair game of rugby you need an impartial referee and surely we cannot expect that with the WRU. Playing these games are an unnecessary risk and only present the WRU with more opportunities in the Welsh press to unleash week after week, more threats against Cardiff and the Mighty Whites.

15
Justin Thomas
6
/10
didn't really do much
14
Liam Botham
7
/10
such a hard worker and makes the most of his limited abilities and pace - improving every game
13
Gareth Thomas
8
/10
showed good running and tackling, but still threw the ball away too often
12
Matthew Wintle
8
/10
worked hard in defence and passed well
11
Craig Morgan
9
/10
at last the man gets a game! brilliant pace and running, must not be left out
10
Paul Burke
8
/10
passed well and played the game at a good pace
9
Robert Howley
7
/10
was happy to play second fiddle to Burke
8
Greg Kacala
8
/10
still takes 3 or 4 to tackle him
7
Dan Baugh
9
/10
close to the perfect 10 had he not been poked in the eye
6
Owain Williams
7
/10
see 14
5
Derwyn Jones
7
/10
did his job well, but see 14
4
John Tait
8
/10
take him to Lourdes!
3
Dai Young
7
/10
scrummaged and tackled well
2
Paul Young
7
/10
busy and active
1
Andrew Lewis
7
/10
see 3