Ebbw Vale

k.o. time: 7:30 pm

30 October, 1999

Eugene Cross Park

Spectators: 4,000

Cardiff
referee
David Davies
5
/10
Strange interpretation of the tackle area but communicated his decisions well and made up his mind early on decisions which stopped any bad feeling on the pitch.
weather
Grim
worth annoying the wife factor
3
/10
general comment

The pitch stood up well but the wage-paying public were drenched on the open side.

scorers
Mike Rayer (1)
Paul Burke (1)
Paul Burke (1)
our choice for next week

vs Dunvant

k.o. time: 7:30 pm

13 November, 1999

St Helens

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Gareth Thomas
13
Grant Esterhuizen
12
Leigh Davies
11
Craig Morgan
10
Neil Jenkins
9
Robert Howley
8
Greg Kacala
7
Dan Baugh
6
Steve Williams
5
John Tait
4
Craig Quinnell
3
Gary Powell
2
Jon Humphreys
1
Spencer John

What a bloody awful game of rugby. If this is the "rugby by numbers" drivel that the VC is going to serve up for us in the coming season then the paying public'll stay away. We want speed and flair not dour stick-it-up-your-jumper rubbish! Constantly grinding down the opposition as though the game was a European Cup (oops, sorry!!) semi final is not interesting when there is no pressure on the result. And yet again we saw a Cardiff team allow the opposition back into the game when they should have been buried.

The first half promised many things, including a fast attacking style by Cardiff. Leigh Davies was superb when taking flat passes from Burke, and his Horanesque charges frightened the living daylights out of the home defence. His partnership with Robinson, however, was nonexistent, in neither attack nor defence. Coupled with this, the back row support when he broke the gain line was invisible, with Owain probably looking for some more supporters to abuse rather than to support his man. So as Davies was unsupported, Burke resorted to kicking Vale to death, hugging the touchlines and waiting for them to make the mistakes. That he failed to convert three very kickable penalties in the first 30 minutes always left Vale in the game.

The constant rain during the match totally killed off any chances of flowing rugby so Cardiff's forwards took it upon themselves to maul the ball constantly. But the game was littered with mistakes with neither team managing to dominate the game.

Cardiff played most of the game with only six and a half forwards. Emyr Lewis was lazy throughout and does not deserve to play until he shows more commitment. Owain Williams was totally disinterested, outplayed by Brad Clark, and generally a disgrace. This must be his last game with the return of both Martyn Williams and the awesome Dan Baugh from World Cup duty as both these players will be totally committed to the cause in Europe.

The player of the season so far must be Steve Williams, however. He's back to his best and questions must be asked as to why he is not included in the Wales A squad. With the return to fitness of Steve Moore, and Tait and Quinnell from World Cup duty, the fear must be that future appearances will be limited. His best position would be blind side and used as a jumper at the back of the line. Why do we need Mike Voyle?????

15
Mike Rayer
7
/10
showed his experience well and always kept the ball alive in attack. Good positional play in defence, as always.
14
Nick Walne
5
/10
didn't really show before his shoulder injury.
13
Leigh Davies
8
/10
an excellent first half with good support play for his back row and some lovely breaks. Looks back to his best but missed a tackle for Vale's second try.
12
Jamie Robinson
4
/10
very quiet game, just content to tackle.
11
Simon Hill
6
/10
missed a crucial tackle for the first try but looked good with the ball in his hand.
10
Paul Burke
6
/10
kicked very well from hand and marshaled the game well. Too many missed kicks at goal left Vale with a sniff of victory.
9
Kevin Ellis
6
/10
kicked well but too slow in delivery from the base of rucks.
8
Emyr Lewis
6
/10
fairly anonymous apart from the odd ball carry and the trademark tackle. Needs to combine more with Kacala
7
Owain Williams
2
/10
back to his old ways this will hopefully be the last we see of him.
6
Greg Kacala
7
/10
always willing to carry the ball and leading by example. Still gives too many penalties away in the tackle area - somebody coach him!
5
Brett Barrett
6
/10
still poor scrummaging although always shows in the loose. The arrival of Voyle will mean his departure home.
4
Steve Williams
9
/10
another impeccable performance with line out takes, restart catches, ball carries and big tackles. Cardiff's player of the season, so far. Why's he not in the 'A' squad?
3
Spencer John
5
/10
didn't do much before his injury.
2
Jon Humphreys
8
/10
see how to throw in the ball, Garin?
1
Andrew Lewis
6
/10
a plodding performance, not looking for space when he carries the ball.