Newport

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

4 September, 1999

Rodney Parade

Spectators: 6,000

Cardiff
referee
Clayton Thomas
2
/10
Set out with premediated ideas. Stopped the game at every opportunity - ball-in-play time far too short for top level (entertainment and) rugby
weather
Hot
worth annoying the wife factor
4
/10
scorers
Gethin Rhys Williams (1)
Damien Geraghty (1)
Liam Botham (1)
our choice for next week

vs Bridgend

k.o. time: 2:30 pm

11 September, 1999

Brewery Field

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Simon Hill
13
Grant Esterhuizen
12
Matthew Wintle
11
Craig Morgan
10
Mike Rayer
9
Kevin Ellis
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Steve Williams
6
Greg Kacala
5
Martin Morgan
4
Brett Barrett
3
Alan Yates
2
Damien Geraghty
1
Spencer John

Cardiff showed just how naive their second team will be this season by managing to lose to a Newport team whose game plan consisted of kicking the leather off the ball. No fault to Newport though - Cardiff are playing for real money this season and it's all about winning, not outscoring the opposition by two tries to nil. Time after time ball was wasted (especially in contact areas) and although this was an early season romp, few players showed they have progressed much since last season.

The game started brightly with the centres cutting through the Newport defence time after time . Botham scythed through from an inside pass from Rayer, passed to Estherantzen, who dropped the ball. This was the way it was to be - Cardiff's backs were either dazzling or bloody useless, but either way there was little control. The forwards lost more possession than Howard Marks.

The bright spot of the back play was the pace and running of Rhys Williams, although Estherantzen showed some spots of good play. Bumtham tried but failed and his goal kicking which eventually lost Cardiff the game, was an embarrassment. Rayer was the obvious choice for goal kicker so why was Bummy kicking? As the catalogue of misses increased, it seams that our new coach mis-judged the cricketers kicking skills and under-estimated the skills of our star ex-petrol pump attendant. Bumtham took all the kicks in the lead up games and so this was obviously a premeditated tactic. Why was the best player of last season - Craig Morgan - left on the bench? A combination of his and Rhys Williams' pace will scare the pants off defences this year, and with Rayer's enormous kicking points haul at Bedford, the Valley Commando seems to have seriously misjudged his selection on Saturday.

It is true that Clayton carried on where he left off at the Brewery Field last year and if this is the way games are to be refereed this year then Gareth Jenkins was right in saying that they will ruin games. Petty indiscretions were penalised and his knowledge of front row play was one penalty to the left followed by one penalty to the right - pathetic. There is still little contact between coaches and referees, and the butcher of the Brewery field once more started blowing his whislte with pre-conceived, WRU-inspired prejudices. We will not easily forget your appalling display last season, and it was obviously a pre-planned move by the WRU for Cardiff to start their season in Wales in the same way as they ended it last year.

No criticism of Newport intended - you can only play in a way as the referee allows. But once more the "ball in play" time was woefully short, and the boot and the whistle dominated. So much for open, entertaining, running rugby.

Cardiff's back row looked especially weak when working as a unit. Ringer was comprehensively outplayed by Forster. Cardiff's failure to recycle sufficient second phase is going to continue unless the VC plays a ball winning flanker. It seems we'll have to wait until the World Cup's over for a set of more combative flankers.

The bright spots for Cardiff are undoubtedly the youngsters. Williams, Morgan and Powell must be given more chances this year - not to forget Craig Morgan ( a veteran at 21!).

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
9
/10
showed dazzling speed and a good eye for a gap. Rayer must coach him on better defensive duties from kicks, however.
14
Liam Botham
4
/10
back to the panicky days of last season. Naive, kick and chase tactics rather than keeping the ball in hand. Can kick no better than my sheep dog.
13
Grant Esterhuizen
6
/10
probably would have had an 8 if he had only held onto the ball when through under the posts TWICE. Good tackling but those dropped passes lost Cardiff the game.
12
Matthew Wintle
5
/10
pretty unconvincing performance this week - needs to kick more from his left foot. Runs like Douglas Barder.
11
Simon Hill
5
/10
another over-the-line-ball-dropper.
10
Mike Rayer
5
/10
kicked too much ball away (badly). Nice passes but no control - played just like Paul Burke.
9
Kevin Ellis
8
/10
a very good debut. Rescued Ringer on many occasions by doing the tackling Ringer won't do. One or two dodgy passes but overall a good performance full of determination.
8
Emyr Lewis
7
/10
strong tackling etc, the same old Bull.
7
Jamie Ringer
3
/10
weak tackling but good pace. Never wins the ball on the floor and the biggest waste of sixty five grand a year we've ever seen.
6
Greg Kacala
6
/10
still goes to ground too much and will be penalised heavily by WRU refs for turning the ball carrier in the tackler and then just lying there. He must be told to move - he cost Cardiff at least 6 points.
5
Martin Morgan
8
/10
an excellent debut and a promising future. Good lineout play and excellent catching.
4
Steve Williams
6
/10
wasted in the second row he would add more balance to the back row.
3
Alan Yates
5
/10
strong scrummager but offers little else.
2
Damien Geraghty
6
/10
better than last season - especially in the line out throwing. Always has been good around the park.
1
Spencer John
3
/10
back to the bad old days of dropping the ball. Seemed more concerned with whinging to the crowd and the ignorant ref. Stop being a prima donna, get your head down and earn your money!!