Cardiff

21 April, 1999

Cardiff Arms Park

London Irish
scorers
Owain Williams (1)
Jamie Ringer (2)
Robert Howley (1)
Gareth Thomas (1)
Liam Botham (1)
Robert Jones (1)
Jamie Robinson (1)
Paul Burke (4)
Lee Jarvis (1)
Paul Burke (1)

Each game that Cardiff now plays only serves to underline the glaring inadequacies and obvious strength of our club. The rugby played is often too static and the backs have little collective flair. As an indication was the useless first phase play of Cardiff, scoring their tries as a result of Irish mistakes and individual skill. In short, the club has no game plan and the team rely too heavily on individual skill. The only noticeable coaching is Faulkner's specialist influence in the front row although the fortune he is paid for this is a vast waste of money. Gareth Jenkins beat Cardiff on his own.

London Irish started brightly with excellent recycling of quick ball. Ringer was noticeable, mainly for his pathetic tackling, which now rivals Jarvis' efforts at the start of the year. Cardiff has been criticized for having players with no heart and Ringer is the epitome of this. He scored tries last night which resulted from his searing pace and excellent support play. The real measure is that during 55-60 minutes of play he made ZERO tackles below waste level and won NO lose ball on the floor. These two crucial parts of the open side's game were completed within three minutes of Baugh's arrival. A mix of Ringer's rugby brain and Baugh's massive b***ocks would result in an awesome player. In short, Ringer sums up Cardiff RFC very well - a fancy dan with no guts for the fight.

The basis of the victory was the groundwork put in by the impressive front row of Cardiff. Andrew Lewis was back to his awesome best with excellent scrummaging, yard gaining runs and positive tackling. Young's contribution was very similar - though he relies on bulk more than speed. In recent weeks we've seen him carrying more ball than he has previously and this is a positive step. When these two combine in the scrum the result is frightening, although in this area we must not belittle the contribution of Derwyn, whose scrummaging we will miss next season. Geraghty was positive and his signing for next season will be useful when Humph (who must have a hugely improved contract for next season) will be on Wales duty.

With this platform the pace of Tait, Williams and Ringer was able to open the game up for Cardiff. The poor Irish back row was put to the sword by Howley, leading to two tries, including one for Howley himself. For large parts of the game Cardiff played ten man rugby with Burke being positive throughout. He may not always make the correct decision but he never throws useless passes in front of his own posts . . . . . . . . For the backs it was a quiet game. Rhys Williams was very assured at full back and we may be seeing much more of him next season in this position. His pace is fearsome and it must be used by him joining the line - especially using the blind side after second phase. Liam Botham was excellent in attitude and his work rate was immense. Cardiff's best two backs were 18 and 22 years old and must be the basis for next season's squad. Gareth Thomas was a bloody shambles again and must be forced to play on the wing so that he only touches the ball when he has a chance of scoring - someone needs to speak with him about motivation and a professional attitude to his play and his club.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
8
/10
very assured and with pace like his, he will be able to escape many problems.
14
Liam Botham
8
/10
scored and created tries, again. Why wasn't he in the squad for Llanelli game?
13
Gareth Thomas
2
/10
so many knock-ons and poor passes. Get on the wing.
12
Matthew Wintle
4
/10
fairly anonymous.
11
Simon Hill
3
/10
equally anonymous.
10
Paul Burke
7
/10
positive throughout, although he seems not to trust his fellow backs, as when he seems so reluctance to pass. Do you blame him?
9
Robert Howley
8
/10
excellent performance, tainted only be some aimless kicking. Seems to have lost some of his pace.
8
Greg Kacala
5
/10
now showing signs of too much rugby.
7
Jamie Ringer
2
/10
no guts, no glory.
6
Owain Williams
6
/10
excellent handling but weak tackling. Has been a wonderful servant to CRFC but will enjoy his retirement next season.
5
Derwyn Jones
5
/10
good scrummaging but needs to revise more of the French terms for "I'm always last to the ruck".
4
John Tait
5
/10
Mr Sweeper is also tired. Will enjoy a summer off.
3
Dai Young
9
/10
supreme performance.
2
Damien Geraghty
7
/10
his summer signing will mean that he will be able to practice throwing into the line - his only real weakness.
1
Andrew Lewis
9
/10
his best game for Cardiff all season.