Bridgend

k.o. time: 2:30 pm

11 September, 1999

Brewery Field

Spectators: 5,000

Cardiff
referee
Nigel Whitehouse
2
/10
Out of his depth - couldn't get the game to flow and couldn't stop the off the ball punches
weather
Cloudy/Humid
worth annoying the wife factor
4
/10
our man of the match
Steve Williams
general comment

Verdict - Aim low and you'll excel every time.

scorers
Owain Williams (1)
Simon Hill (1)
Liam Botham (1)
Liam Botham (4)
our choice for next week

vs Neath

k.o. time: 2:30 pm

18 September, 1999

The Gnoll

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

We knew September and October were going to be tough, but this is a very poor Cardiff team. This game showed all that's still wrong with Welsh rugby - static play, kick and chase tactics and has-beens slowing the game to their pace. Combined with an inept and nervous referee, we endured another skill-less shambles at the Brewery Field.

We had high hopes at the beginning of this season that a new coach would finally get Cardiff playing like a team and not just a bunch of individuals, but so far we've seen little sign of a well-drilled unit. For the Welsh Forward Coach's pack to fail to score once against seven-man set of forwards would be bad enough, but twice!!! Cardiff failed to score from a five yard lineout against only seven Bridgend forwards on two separate occasions. They also managed to lose the ball twice. Turnover after turnover followed from a lack of control and skill. Once more, clearing out at rucks is non-existent and poor Kevin Ellis was hammered time after time. It's been a long time since Cardiff fielded such a poor pack.

The first half was a shambolic advert for Welsh rugby. Skill was at a premium and the dominant factor was the off side play of Bridgend and their willingness to fall on the ball and kill the game. The cowardly referee (dressed appropriately in yellow) took thirty five minutes to realise this but even when he finally sin binned Webster, Cardiff were unable to capitalize.

Bridgend's try came from Ringer losing the ball on the floor to his opposite number (again!), although claims for handling on the floor and a penalty to Cardiff were more than justified. This set the tone for a Cardiff's performance of little quality second phase ball (again) which meant no space for their backs. The back row of Kacala, Williams and Ringer (who we think is supposed to play at open-side though he still thinks that he's the scrum half) were shambolic and totally lacking in a common understanding of what the other was doing and Bridgend were deservedly in the lead. If you pick Owain Williams and Ringer, just who is going to win the ball for you in the tackle zone? Both hang around on the fringes and surprise, surprise, turnovers abound!

The second half was little better although a sustained move of phase ball allowed Owain Williams to fall over the line unopposed. Hopes were raised that Cardiff could up the tempo and that the referee had finally brought Bridgend on side but these never materialized. Bridgend seemed happy to kick ball away and let Cardiff make mistakes (sound familiar?) and Cardiff seemed happy to accommodate this.

As the bullocking bulldozing Bridgend centres ploughed their furrow up field , it was sad to see Devereux playing the game of 10 years ago. Even sadder is that during the Mighty Whites victory on Saturday, the centre play seemed to be dominated by a failed ex-Warrington RL prop. Because of a total lack of speed in the game there is a total lack of space from even second phase possession. Therefore bulk wins over brains and speed in the centre seems to be a thing of the past. And to think Christian Cullen is now playing at outside centre ...........

The only real bright spark was Hill's try which came from a blind side scrum move with the ball picked up by Ringer from the base of the scrum and fed to Rhys Williams. No one can live with his pace. Imagine him and Craig Morgan in tandem . . . . . only a dream it seems as the VC obviously sees Bumtham's kicking ability as key to securing victory.

As the game crawled to its end, the home team drew level with a last minute try. Bridgend's blocking tactics involved giving our Pole a huge Glasgow kiss - punching Kacala right under the nose of the referee - and thus creating enough space to fall over the line. If only our kicking winger could have kicked the winner! (Where've we said that before ......?)

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
7
/10
Defence to probing kicks is his weakness which will be ruthlessly exploited again next week. His pace is frightening and created Hill's try but he is still very naive.
14
Liam Botham
6
/10
Still trying to kick the points. His lack of pace is obvious but his work rate is inspirational. The antithesis of Ringer.
13
Grant Esterhuizen
6
/10
Strong, yet given little opportunity to shine because of Rayer's distribution.
12
Matthew Wintle
5
/10
Missed a classic three-to-two overlap by putting in a mis-pass. Sums up his game, really.
11
Simon Hill
6
/10
Good try, but showed up little elsewhere.
10
Mike Rayer
4
/10
Made some good breaks but then dithers over the pass. His distribution was awful.
9
Kevin Ellis
7
/10
Excellent defence but little attacking prowess. Needs to make more breaks but defends the line superbly.
8
Owain Williams
5
/10
Turned up some times in the loose but generally anonymous.
7
Jamie Ringer
2
/10
Totally out of position for the TWO tries that Bridgend scored from turning over Cardiff first phase possession. Totally out-played by his opposite number (again!).
6
Greg Kacala
5
/10
Some good runs but now so predictable.
5
Brett Barrett
6
/10
Very good front line jumper and made an excellent cover tackle in the move that led to Bridgend's first try. A positive debut.
4
Steve Williams
8
/10
Superb catching from restarts and general support play was excellent. One of his best games for a long time.
3
Gary Powell
5
/10
Good scrummaging but does little to clear out at rucks or protect his scrum half. Much the same as Frank Spencer.
2
Damien Geraghty
7
/10
Very good performance in the loose, which saw him, Fitzpatrick-style, playing on the wing. Covers space intelligently. But what about your throwing in, Frank? Surely this is a basic schoolboy-level skill! Get practicing!
1
Spencer John
2
/10
Did he play?