Cardiff

30 January, 1999

Cardiff Arms Park

Abertillery
scorers
John Tait (1)
Steve Williams (1)
Paul Burke (1)
Mike Rayer (1)
Greg Kacala (1)
Paul Burke (4)

The victory margin should have been greater as the difference in quality of player was huge. The difference in the quality of coaching, however, was not so great and it would be interesting to see what the Abertillery Coach could produce with Cardiff's squad. Abertillery came to play a limited game, based on their limited fitness, and it was only because of the full time status of Cardiff's players that they came out on top.

It was refreshing to see Cardiff try to play a sharp, fast passing game in the first twenty minutes. Rather than try to bash their opponents out of the way, the backs were used to create space in which to exploit their superior pace.

But once more we have Mr Jones to thank for awful distribution which ruined any flow to the game. Time after time he was too slow and Burke could never function from a fast, flat, accurate pass. In defence of the scrum half, he had no protection from his forwards who rucked poorly for the first hour and no protection from the unbelievably bad referee. Who was that guy? Does he referee Whitland 2nds every game? He had no control of the ruck or maul areas, where turnovers resulted by players way off side, or by those who had (dangerously) pulled mauls down. Thankfully no one was seriously injured by these tactics, but that was no thanks to the referee. We were back to the good old days of WRU inspired poor refereeing. Never mind, we're sure to get Derek Bevan at Stradey when Llanelli have run out of village teams to play . . . . . . . .

Once Cardiff realised that second phase ball, unless lightningly fast, was impossible they resorted to out-muscling Abertillery. Here, there would never be a contest and that's where the game turned. Paul Williams had an excellent hour as time after time he was on the shoulder of the ball carrier to enable quick ball. But once more supporting players were too slow.

Forward power soon told and once points were on the board Cardiff seemed to relax and play some good rugby during a 15 minute burst in the second half. Paul Young was excellent as Cardiff passed before contact to men running at pace. OW came into his own in this basketball-paced play and the ball was always alive. We saw wingers having the ball in space and the Welsh league team could not live with the pace of the game.

Entertainment was soon to beckon . . . . . so Terrance removed the catalyst from play (Paul Young) and the game went back to the funereal pace of the first half. The remaining players tried to continue Young's good work but no one was taking the ball at pace and the game descended into farce.

The abiding memory will be the consultation between the Touch Judge and Referee regarding the late tackle on Simon Hill. Their mutual incompetence showed as the Neanderthal lock should have received a red card and a penalty try should have been given. Instead the WRU fudged the situation again and bottled out.

15
Mike Rayer
9
/10
an excellent performance from the Master. Deservedly made captain, he gave a flawless performance of skill, determination and class. The best players always seem to have time
14
Simon Hill
7
/10
gutsy again but now lacking the real pace to be a top class winger. Should have been allowed a penalty try.
13
Leigh Davies
7
/10
busy and making breaks. Has now become an UNBELIEVABLY SELFISH PLAYER who will not use overlaps or pass to certain colleagues - have we a clique appearing?
12
Mike Hall
8
/10
steady, always good at this level on this type of surface. Straightens the line better than any Cardiff back and never ships on bad ball. Plays well to his limitations.
11
Craig Morgan
7
/10
frightening pace but not used effectively. Perhaps should start to join the line between the centres once in a while.
10
Paul Burke
7
/10
did as well as he could with bad service given to him. An intelligent interception try.
9
Robert Jones
2
/10
awful. Why didn't Wake start? Is he banned from playing for us as well?
8
Owain Williams
6
/10
lightweight at no 8. Pathetic "drives" from the back of the scrum. Should have swapped with Steve Williams.
7
Paul Williams
8
/10
an excellent hour, will only improve with more match practice. Might be an idea to introduce him some time into the games as an "impact" player to speed up the game.
6
Steve Williams
6
/10
played the strong man role but should have started at 8, or at least packed down at 8.
5
John Tait
6
/10
seemed to play at 70% but it was still enough.
4
Steve Moore
5
/10
seemed to play only at 60% but it was still enough.
3
Lyndon Mustoe
5
/10
as a running back in American Football he may have a negative yardage but played to his limitations and scrummaged very well.
2
Paul Young
7
/10
busy second half until crazily substituted. Is he injured??? Throwing in to lineouts has improved.
1
Spencer John
7
/10
busy runs, but his body angle is too upright making him an easy target. Should be told that he is not as hard as Kacala.