7 February, 1999

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 2,500

Emyr Lewis (1)
Simon Hill (2)
Gethin Rhys Williams (1)
Liam Botham (4)
Mike Rayer (1)
Paul Burke (6)

In front of a crowd of only 2,500, a bright sunny day brought us an enjoyable game peppered with exciting running rugby which both sides tried to play, no matter what was the game situation.

Andy Moore's return at scrum half was the catalyst to the Cardiff performance. He showed us the skills that have deserted poor Robert - speed, dynamism and an ability to play flowing rugby. His passing was sharp and the way he drove Cardiff forward with quick tap penalties meant that the game was played at pace. At the scrum, he mesmerised the Bedford no 8 and this created the space for Liam. Come on Peter! Put your hand in your pocket and transform the squad - this man's a must! [and bring his partner Adrian Davies with him!].

The forward performance was a great improved on the Abertillery game. Rucking was fast and Moore used it well to bring the pace of Rhys Williams into play. Frank Spencer had a better game and Steve Williams seemed to enjoy his second row position. The forwards were mobile and Geraghty was able to shine in the loose.

Undoubtedly Cardiff's best forward, however, was Paul Williams. Time after time he ensured fast ball and completely outplayed Jason Forster. Williams' influence was no more greatly felt than when he obstructed three Bedford defenders in the move resulting in a try for Botham. All this begs the question as to why he didn't start the game? Also revelling in the open spaces was the reincarnated Emyr Lewis whose lengthy layoff didn't seem to affect him at all. His return will help boost the competition for back row places.

In the backs the shining light was 19 year old Rhys Williams on his try scoring debut. After a shaky start which wasn't made any easier by Henry Winkler, he soon found space with which to use his pace. For many years Cardiff have been searching for a quick centre and this boy needs to be nurtured. He needs to bulk up a little and improve his tackling techniques, but his eye for the gap and speed of the mark pierced the opposition defence throughout the game. Rhys Williams, Paul Williams, Craig Morgan, Lee Jarvis . . . the future looks bright.

But a mix of experience and youth is essential if Cardiff are to build a bright future, and Mike Rayer was the steadying influence in the back line. For the first time playing against his old club, he showed that his rugby brain is still at optimum speed, with intelligent angles of running and a calming influence. Unfortunately, the pace of old is disappearing, but he created so much space for others and should be used more often from second and third phase.

At last players passed before contact to the man coming on at speed and running into the gap. This is the rugby we want! Come on Terrance, let's see it every week! Pick those who play this type of rugby and forget those big name players who are only here for the money!

Mike Rayer
Liam Botham
Gethin Rhys Williams
Matthew Wintle
Simon Hill
Paul Burke
Andy Moore
Emyr Lewis
Owain Williams
Greg Kacala
John Tait
Steve Williams
Lyndon Mustoe
Damien Geraghty
Spencer John