Cardiff

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

4 December, 1999

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 8,000

Newport
referee
Nigel Whitehouse
3
/10
did not referee any rules at the ruck and missed many obvious obstructions etc Gave one crazy knock one decision from 50 metres off the ball, and a try that wasn't.
weather
Dry with one brief shower, but bloody windy
worth annoying the wife factor
6
/10
our man of the match
Leigh Davies
scorers
Gareth Thomas (1)
Rhys Williams (1)
Paul Burke (2)
Paul Burke (4)
our choice for next week

vs Benetton

k.o. time: 2:30 pm

11 December, 1999

Cardiff Arms Park

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Craig Morgan
13
Gareth Thomas
12
Leigh Davies
11
Simon Hill
10
Paul Burke
9
Robert Howley
8
Greg Kacala
7
Martyn Williams
6
Dan Baugh
5
John Tait
4
Steve Moore
3
Dai Young
2
Jon Humphreys
1
Spencer John

Cardiff's centres were yet again the difference between these two teams as Cardiff built an unassailable lead in the first 30 minutes of this nail biter. Time after time they scythed through the Newport defence. Their extra pace brought two wonderful tries for Rhys Williams and Gareth Thomas as Cardiff played their traditional rugby to cut holes in Newport. Possession (and the wind) was with the home team and Burke made the most of the conditions with an almost faultless performance. Indeed it wasn't until Don Boat had smashed Franco Smith into Disneyland that Newport started to function as Howarth came to the fore.

Until then Newport looked slow and predictable, content to drive close to the ruck at all times. Llewellyn's passing was feeble and he constantly put General Franco under pressure. Cardiff were then able to win scrums and turnovers and they destroyed a lacklustre Newport pack in all aspects, apart from the line out. This platform was a joy to the back line whose angles of running are impressive and a tap on the back must go to Geraint John.

The second half was a different story as Cardiff could not gain possession. Newport won all the ball through short lineouts and their Fijian lock, against which Cardiff could not defend. Again, for the second week running, just as Merle had done in Montferrand, Cardiff failed to defend against limited and predictable lineout tactics. In fact their only defence was for Voyle to lean against the Newport forwards and hope that they passed the ball out. When they did Llewellyn was so slow it was easy to defend against, with the referee getting confused and awarding incorrect off side penalties. This allowed Newport more possession and better field positions, which got them back into the game.

Cardiff's forward play away from attacking lineouts and scrums is very poor and shows badly for their Wales forward coach. Newport were able to cut loose and only last ditch tackling and a lack of pace amongst the Newport backs (apart from Breeze) saved Cardiff. In fact, had Gareth Taylor not knocked on Llewellyn's worse pass of the day then Newport would probably have won a game they did not deserve to be in, especially after the first third.

Another lead almost slipped away as a static and predictable Newport were let back into the game. Fourteen points were scored by Newport with kicks into the corner and falling over the line (a touchdown in the wobbling Bok's case) with Cardiff learning no lessons in how to defend this phase. This is the third week in a row that we've conceded tries in the fashion. What are you practicing, VC? Cardiff have learned nothing from the three tries they conceded against Saracens, last year. Not only is Cardiff's defence woefully weak in this phase but their attack is no better. Newport pushed Cardiff back twice from 5 metre lineouts - so the tricks to be learnt are in the tape but can the VC coach his players to drive low? Voyle's abject performance in the second row probably means that this is beyond the means of the VC as he still picks his favourite Turk Mime Artist.

Cardiff must work on togetherness in forward play. The VC failed to use any substitutes (perhaps he's reading our page!!) until injury time - a crazy decision since his players were burnt out and struggling to get around the field. Spencer had annihilated Bokky and should have left the field at the same time as he did. Both second rows should also have been changed - and one should never have started.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
7
/10
showed the value of pace at full back and scored an excellent try. Needs to work on his tackling and kicking, however.
14
Liam Botham
6
/10
poor kicking and even Lardy Marinos ran around him. Needs to work on his pace but makes up for it with enthusiasm. Still can't punt.
13
Leigh Davies
9
/10
an almost faultless performance in which he murdered the Newport centres. Broke the gain line again and again, and tackled the Oz every time he had the ball.
12
Gareth Thomas
8
/10
benefiting from Davies' play inside him. Scored another try and could have set up another if Botham could keep up with him. Outplayed the Oz (who's the sixth best centre in Wales - what's all the fuss about?)
11
Simon Hill
6
/10
a little of the pace in a game he didn't have much to do.
10
Paul Burke
9
/10
a superb performance of mixed outside half play. Kicked short, kicked long, up and unders and grubbers. His passing allowed space for his centres and kicked for points well. On this form must keep Mr One Dimensional Jenkins on the bench. How brave are you VC? Or is Jinx deciding who plays at outside half.
9
Ryan Powell
7
/10
a real battling player who always impresses. Has a bullet pass that sometimes doesn't function but always manages to put pace on the game. Needs to kick a little more and needs more games.
8
Emyr Lewis
6
/10
a little subdued but still tackles well in the tight. Needs to carry the ball more but could have sat back even more against the nonexistent Newport back row.
7
Dan Baugh
8
/10
back to his best. Needs to learn to recycle ball a little more quickly but now all opposition physios carry kidneys in their bags as well as bandages and sprays.
6
Greg Kacala
7
/10
noticeable ball carries and tackling on the pedestrian and geriatric Llewellyn. Would now be better suited to playing number 8.
5
Mike Voyle
2
/10
more missed tackles with feeble attempts. Utter crap player who joins mauls like a mime artist pushing a wall. Bring back Keith Stewart.
4
Steve Moore
7
/10
a good performance on his first start back. Excellent mauler, his tackles hit hard. Should have been brought off with 15 minutes to go as he was knackered.
3
Spencer John
9
/10
totally outplayed the wobbling Bok. Pushed him back in most scrums he eventually forced him off with an ego injury. Awesome scrummaging. Best game in Cardiff colours.
2
Jon Humphreys
9
/10
another awesome performance. Killed so much Newport ball at rucks (legally!!) and even stole some on the floor. Brilliant tackling and his line out throwing even makes Voyle look decent.
1
Andrew Lewis
6
/10
quiet but comfortable. Needs to refine his pace and ball carrying skills.