Cardiff

k.o. time: 7:15 pm

2 May, 2000

Cardiff Arms Park

Neath
referee
Gareth Simmonds
7
/10
one of the more correct interpretations of the rules, although sometimes slack on the off side line.
weather
Dry and Sunny
worth annoying the wife factor
7
/10
our man of the match
Gethin Rhys Williams
general comment

the quality of the forward play was embarrassing, but the speed of Rhys Williams and Craig Morgan was exhilarating.

scorers
Gethin Rhys Williams (3)
Robert Howley (2)
Craig Morgan (1)
Paul Burke (5)
Paul Burke (3)
Paul Burke (1)
our choice for next week

vs Dunvant

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

6 May, 2000

Broadacre

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Craig Morgan
13
Jamie Robinson
12
Mike Rayer
11
Nick Walne
10
Paul Burke
9
Ryan Powell
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Martyn Williams
6
Philip Wheeler
5
Martin Morgan
4
John Tait
3
Gary Powell
2
Damien Geraghty
1
Spencer John

So Cardiff brushed past a spirited and well coached Neath team, easily clinching the Village League with three games still left to play. It is conceivable that the final league points margin could be near twenty points. This season Cardiff has had the best players - though not, unfortunately, the best team.

Under the captaincy of Humph, we at last saw the Cardiff team change tactics when Plan A was failing so miserably and so embarrassingly. The VC had obviously sent out his team to play a mauling, forward orientated game which was designed to destroy Neath up front.

But alarming this was a dramatic failure.

To think that Howells is the Welsh forward coach yet his own team could not generate one driving maul that continued for more than five metres!!!! At least Humph recognized this and opted to kick for three points on two occasion when under previous coaches the kick to the corner and line out option would have ended with a try.

The first half was a story of Neath's unity and collective skill sculptured by the excellent Lyn Jones, against the individual brilliance of the Cardiff squad (much the same as we saw on Saturday). Howells named a patched-up team to win the Village League, mostly because of injuries, and with players out of position and others not interested, it was easy for Neath to get on top. Sinkinson and Van Rensburg were outstanding throughout the match and because of the lack of unity within Cardiff's forward play, Neath scored 22 points in the first half.

All that kept Cardiff in the game was two excellent tries by the superb Howley. His charge down try was much deserved as this sort of application and a professional attitude - even in the face of insults from left, right and centre - has been an example to others whose application can be sorely questioned. Despite his dip in form, he never stopped trying. Howley really seems to be sticking it to the coach and the other back room boys who are happy to see him go. His burst in form has come ever since the stories of him joining Leicester surfaced. Another case of mismanagement of a truly world class player! Combined with Rhys Williams' pace, Cardiff's backs were unstoppable and all were able to show their speed and undoubted skills. As the season has wore on, quite clearly the backs have played better and better under Burke's control (as opposed to the prima donna's) whilst the forward's game has fallen apart.

Cardiff were still poor after the break and it's no coincidence that once the pathetically awful Vile had been removed things started to look up. His performance throughout the game plumbed new depths of incompetence. He's put on some pretty woeful shows this season, but in this game even he excelled himself. He was a dynamo of mediocrity. To see a man of his physical size turn his back when running into a tackle, showing how frightened he was, is pitiful. If only we had Ellery Hanley coaching Cardiff on how to break a tackle as well as make a tackle! Vile's lack of physical presence (or interest) in other areas of the field must mean that he should be the first out of the door in the summer - even ahead of the prima donna. And to think we're losing ALP and will probably end up keeping these carpet baggers.

The second half revival was sparked by a concentration on fast ball with quick recycling. In the final twenty minutes Cardiff were faster with ball in hand and faster to the breakdown with Owain Williams prominent in ball recycling. His ability to pace himself by doing nothing for one hour before playing basketball in the final twenty minutes allowed Cardiff to lull Neath into a false sense of security before pulling away. He played a similar game at the Gnoll, and his contribution did much to speed up Cardiff's play in the last 20 minutes. Tries were created by the excellent Howley and Burke (surely the first choice half backs) and scored by Rhys Williams - to allow him a hat trick - and then finally Craig Morgan scored a deserved final try to take the points total past fifty and give Cardiff the un-sponsored Village League.

However, the highlight of the game was the penultimate try. A skewed kick by Rayer was superbly gathered by Morgan who somehow managed to slip the ball to Rhys Williams in mid-tackle and give the speedster a clear run to the line. Ex-Cardiff Youth player Delme Williams was in pursuit, however, and he had showed good speed throughout the game. Yet he had no answer to Williams. Indeed, with 25 metres to go, Rhys Williams slowed down to taunt his opponent, only to accelerate away again. As the season has come to a close, Rhys has finally started taking more ball at the outside half position from second and third phase possession - something we've been advocating for a long time. Burke frees up the space for him to do this. With the prima donna playing, however, there's probably no way past the ex-Ponty man's ego! With Rhys's hunger to take ball at pace from second phase, it won't be long until he plays at fly half for Cardiff where his pace will frighten opposition back rows to death!

Congratulations to all the players who contributed to winning the league title this season, and in particular to those who won hard fought away matches during the World Cup last year!

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
10
/10
a faultless display at full back where not one tackle was missed, allowing his counter attacking skills to win him three tries.
14
Craig Morgan
9
/10
superbly fast, when he combines with Rhys Williams they are unstoppable.
13
Mike Rayer
6
/10
seemed a little off the pace and should have been moved to full back.
12
Liam Botham
5
/10
injured too early (after missing an easy tackle)
11
Nick Walne
7
/10
another comfortable performance.
10
Paul Burke
8
/10
another excellent controlling influence.
9
Robert Howley
10
/10
faultless, definitely back to his best just as he leaves for Wasps.
8
Emyr Lewis
7
/10
fairly interested in attack but barely interested in defence.
7
Martyn Williams
9
/10
only now is he producing his best form, but all too late.
6
Steve Williams
5
/10
seems that he has a recurrence of that hamstring injury.
5
Mike Voyle
1
/10
seems that he has a recurrence of that "can't be @rsed injury".
4
Steve Moore
7
/10
now regaining his international form.
3
Spencer John
5
/10
the wrong prop is going.
2
Jon Humphreys
8
/10
make this man Captain for next year!!!!
1
Andrew Lewis
7
/10
ALP has been a wonderful servant for the club. Why such a whole hearted, honest and committed player should be leaving us is a sad day for the club. Never shirking the fight, he's one of the few who've consistently played for the jersey - not the lucre. Now when his contract is up, how does the club reward him? It's exactly players like ALP that we need - players who don't bottle it on the big occasion. Peter Thomas should think seriously about what's happening at the club when Henry's influence and the amateur coach we've inherited succeed in depriving us of one of our best players. Good luck to you ALP! Top us, you'll always be a Cardiff player, no matter what jersey you wear.