Cardiff

14 November, 1998

Cardiff Arms Park

Gloucester
referee
Peter Bolland
scorers
Greg Kacala (1)
Matthew Wintle (1)
Craig Morgan (1)
Paul Burke (1)

We want our money back. Not only were the players aweful - all sweat and no brains - but the coaches were worse! Mr Holmes, when someone's having a bad game and the team's suffering as a result - take him off the pitch! You seem to be under the illusion that substitutions are only made for tactical or injury reasons. They can also be made when the game plan isn't working or somebody's performance is plain awful!

Nevertheless it takes two teams to make a game and the Gloucester sqaud seemed to be treating the game and the viewing public with a contempt only matched by Richard Hill's clear decleration of his disdain for these "friendly" fixtures (certainly not spectator-friendly).

Dispite picking a team built around speed (at outside centre, wing, full back and both flankers), Cardiff played a game dominated by physical contact, with players diving nose first into rucks and mauls. This gave the truely appalling Mr Bollom, the opportunity to depress us with his full reportoire of whistling. The game turned farsical in patches, the second half spiralled into misery for rugby fans.

Robert Jones had his worst game in years. He was slow in thought and slow in deed. His all round tentative display and poor passing prevented any fluidity and his poor tactical awareness as captain never allowed the game to open up. When his forwards attacked the strongest point of the opposition (the centre of their pack), he made no attempt to encourage the ball to flow out wide - to Cardiff's strength. It is fair to say that Gloucester came to kill the ball but have Cardiff not learnt by now that all English teams play this way. Only once during the game was a man rucked from the ball in true New Zealand style, and that was by the Gloucester pack. They not only won a penalty but the gulity Cardiff player was farscially yellow carded (should have been white, Pete) by the disaster with the whilste, and left the field for the sin-bin. For the whole game, the pack wresteled with those lying on, or diving on th ball without letting their feet do the talking. But it isn't just the Cardiff players who are to blame for this, those standing on the touch line failed to give any direction to solve the problem.

Off side by opposition forwards at the fringes of rucks has long plagued match this season, yet still our scrum half is collared with the ball in hand. There was no 19 stone second row pummelling into all guilty offenders at second and third phase breakdowns.

At the other end of the age spectrum we had two excellent performances. Paul Williams at open side performed bravely throughout and was harshly sinbinned, paying the price for the constant infringes by the Gloucester players. Pinching the ball at the breakdown, there was much to remind us of Gwyn Jones. Pump some iron Paul, and you'll go along way! And at full back Craig Morgan showed his pace and class. In tandem with the attitude shown by the other 14 players on the pitch, he too failed to pass to Sullivan when in space, but otherwise he always seems to have so much time, which is the sign of a great player. In short, he took the right option and showed great pace.

Steve Williams ran well in the loose and Greg Kacala took the Gloucester pack on on his own. The half backs showed relegation form and the centres were forced back inside by slow ball. And therefore, Messers Sullivan and Botham hardly got a pass.

This kind of dour game will drive the spectators away.

But it was Spencer John who epitomised everything wrong with this performance. Everytime he took the ball on, it ended in a pile up. Pass before contact, was this years golden rule, we thought, but obviously this message hasn't reached Spencer.

15
Craig Morgan
8
/10
had a good start to the game but soon became anonymous
14
Liam Botham
4
/10
Anonymous
13
Simon Hill
6
/10
tackled but never passed outside him
12
Matthew Wintle
5
/10
see above
11
Anthony Sullivan
5
/10
caught both his passes and made both his tackles, but isn't looking for work - should be barking at his centres to give him the ball!
10
Paul Burke
5
/10
showed a great lack of invention - try kicking long for Sullivan to chase - anything to bring him into the game!
9
Robert Jones
3
/10
everything went badly wrong - looked like he wanted to be substituted himself!
8
Greg Kacala
8
/10
always hardworking and making good passes. Does not always look for contact - learn Spencer!!!!!
7
Paul Williams
7
/10
harshly treated but tackled well and recycled good ball
6
Owain Williams
4
/10
useless in this tight game, prefers basketball
5
John Tait
5
/10
unusually quiet
4
Steve Williams
7
/10
lively during his spell on the pitch
3
Darren Sweet
4
/10
as a nut
2
Paul Young
3
/10
very anonymous - keep practicing your throwing in!
1
Spencer John
3
/10
totally killed the game - practice your passing