4 November, 1998

Welfare Ground

Spectators: 2,000

David Davies
our man of the match
Paul Williams
Matthew Wintle (3)
Liam Botham (3)
Justin Thomas (2)
Anthony Sullivan (2)
Simon Hill (1)
Robert Jones (1)
Lee Jarvis (1)
Paul Burke (7)
Lee Jarvis (2)

A meaningless game against understrength opposition with poor refeering and no touch judges either. Back to the WRU organised shambles.

We paid to watch Anthony Sullivan but he barely got the ball. We could be polite and say that he may become another Nigel Walker by being used more as a decoy than anything else, or we could be unkind and say he is being given the same cold shoulder that JD experienced when he returned to Union. Justin Thomas was the chief exponent of this prejudice and the man is rapidly slipping back to the land of the Turks.

Too much pace and strength meant skill took the back seat. Paul Young and the Hulk shone in the loose and we were even treated to the driving bursts of Lyndon Mustoe making yardage (well, 2 at least). There were signs of a return to confidence for Steve Williams as he once more carried the ball with agression and tenacity. STEVE - you're the man missing from the Welsh back row ... go for it!

But by far the man of the match was the young open-side - Paul Williams. He tackled hard, his support play was excellent and he recycled the ball well at the breakdown. Whilst there's still a long way to go and this will be the weakest opposition he will face all season, there are definite signs of a player to watch for the future.

It was not all good up front, however. Laziness meant that the protection of the fringes was again poor and, though Cilfynydd were yards off side, against weak opposition this is precisely the bad habit that will undo Cardiff against the tuffer opposition they will face in December. This area must be cleaned up to protect our scrum half and ensure quick ball.

The highlight of the night, however, was the appearance of John Tait after his injury scare. It's great news that he's fit again.

In the back line both Burke and Jones were quiet and content with passing the ball to make use of the space. Wintle and Hill benefited and complemented each other extremely well. Simon Hill is showing good form at centre and great form on the wing - Graham Henry: which games are you looking at? With Craig Morgan and Anthony Sullivan on the wings and this centre partnership, the pace of the Cardiff back line would frighten any side. And then there is Gareth Thomas to fit in . . . Mr Jarvis - with this sort of talent outside you, lie deep and let the ball do the work!! Once more, Liam Botham continues his transformation from the error prone back of nerves who started the season with a work rate that should be an inspiration to those around him. Making the most of what he's got is what he's about and if every Cardiff player played with the same attitude .......

And so to Sullivan. Watching the game at ground level meant we could see exactly how frighteningly quick he is. He's yards faster than anything we've seen this year but he does not have the explosive pace over the first 10 yards as Walker had and Craig Morgan HAS, but in space he will score a hatfull. With Rayer's passing at full back, Sullivan will enjoy the space and use it to the full potential.

Justin Thomas
Anthony Sullivan
Simon Hill
Matthew Wintle
Liam Botham
Paul Burke
Robert Jones
Greg Kacala
Paul Williams
Owain Williams
Steve Williams
Keith Stewart
Lyndon Mustoe
Paul Young
Spencer John