Cardiff

k.o. time: 7:15 pm

10 May, 2000

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 5,000

Scarlets
referee
Derek Bevan
1
/10
An absolutely shambolic performance from the thankfully now-retired Bevan - gifting five tries between the two teams and making countless crazy decisions. Missed knocks on, forward passes, blatant killing of the ball by the defending team resulting in a penalty for not releasing the ball ..... the list is endless. So far past his sell by date things were getting very smelly. His last game as a ref.
worth annoying the wife factor
6
/10
our man of the match
Craig Morgan
general comment

would have been much more if it wasn't for the referee taking centre stage

scorers
Craig Morgan (1)
Owain Williams (1)
Steve Moore (1)
Gareth Thomas (1)
Paul Burke (3)
Paul Burke (4)
our choice for next week

vs Swansea

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

13 May, 2000

Cardiff Arms Park

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Nick Walne
13
Gareth Thomas
12
Jamie Robinson
11
Craig Morgan
10
Paul Burke
9
Robert Howley
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Martyn Williams
6
Owain Williams
5
Martin Morgan
4
Steve Moore
3
Spencer John
2
Jon Humphreys
1
Andrew Lewis

At last a victory over the Turkish infidels. A loss here would have meant four defeats in a row. Instead, its the Scarlet's third defeat in four games and a loss a week Saturday would leave them with nothing to show for this season.

But its difficult to judge team play and individual skill in a game that is totally dominated and ruined by a self-important referee. His crazy decisions prevented either team from stringing any sort of pattern of play together. It was his decisions that ensured that the score would be close in the end (but was probably disappointed with the result). Throughout the dim twilight of his career, he has always felt he needed to create the occasion and the drama, rather than leave it to the two teams to play the rugby.

Two Llanelli tries came from blatant obstruction of the defence, yet Bevan was oblivious. As Llanelli cruised into a large lead, he suddenly found the arm that he had declined to use in the first twenty minutes of the game. Then he evened up the score by allowing Cardiff penalty after penalty. He was even flanked by two incompetent touch judges - both of whom seemed more interested in banter with the Llanelli physio then ruling on any off side play or knock-ons.

With now only one game to go this season the style that Cardiff will play is obviously set in stone. Although each week they try to maul the opposition of the park (indeed they succeeded ONCE against Llanelli), this soon fails and then they revert to running the ball from everywhere - with quick recycling. We are now seeing some real improvements here and against the Turks we saw 10 to 15 phases of play on regular occasions. That would be a positive view of their ball retention and discipline, a more negative view would be that this highlights their inability to break down teams' defences. The truth probably lies somewhere between.

For twenty minutes at the start of the second half they were camped in Llanelli's 22, only to come away with one try, and that from a breakaway. There is definitely a lack of penetration and pace onto the ball, particularly at forward where crossing of the gain line is easiest with a big man taking the ball at pace. This is where we need to find new players and improve the performances of those we have. IT was so clear in the Toulouse-Munster game that the Toulouse pack had eight ball carrying forwards all capable of taking the ball at pace, at an alternative angle, of breaking the tackle of passing before contact. They had the full range of skills. The challenge is there Cardiff - show us you too can reach this standard!

What Cardiff do possess, however, is fearsome pace in the backs. With Craig Morgan, Gareth Thomas and Rhys Williams running at the opposition, then teams' defences are constantly stretched. These were the players that created chances against the Turks, only for a foolish mistake or a Bevan-decision and the attack broke down. John Wayne must get more involved with these guys next year to allow Cardiff to run the ball well. He still has a tendency to stay on his wing and wait for the play to come to him (a la Newport). With the rucking skills and excellent support play of fast forwards like Tait and Andrew Lewis - along with Humph - fast ball flowed against Llanelli (but was not always used wisely). Perhaps with Geraint Lewis things might change?

This game was a microcosm of Cardiff's season: firstly the forwards try to wear down the opposition but fail and think "Why not give it to our backs?" These guys then win the match on their own because they are much faster and more naturally talented than their opponents. A Mickey Mouse referee does his best to prevent the flow of the game, but despite his best efforts Cardiff win by natural skill, ball handling skills and speed. Oh! How Cardiff would love to play summer rugby on a decent pitch . . . . . . . . . .. !!!!!

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
7
/10
Superb in counter attacking mode, but Cardey tackled him in the corner to prevent one try and he now seems to be protecting his shoulder in the tackle. Get that operation done Rhys! Think of the long term
14
Nick Walne
5
/10
A mixed performance against a guy who clearly had the pace on him, and ran around him once to create a try.
13
Gareth Thomas
6
/10
Created a good try and scored an easy one but did little else. Playing off his natural ability and pace without putting enough effort in. Capable of much more.
12
Mike Rayer
6
/10
Well off the pace in the first half but did contribute a little more in the second. Tried to use his brain when he ran out of gas (which was shortly after the kick off!)
11
Craig Morgan
9
/10
Now we are seeing the benefit of giving him a run in the team. His pace is fearsome but it was his defence against Dafydd James in the second half that was most impressive. Oh! But why so late, Howells! We have been screaming at you to give this guy a chance! Why has it taken you so long? Now you can see what you've (and more importantly we - the fans - have) been missing!
10
Paul Burke
8
/10
An excellent kicking performance and whole hearted tackling stopped Llanelli from playing, especially in the second half.
9
Ryan Powell
6
/10
Although he tried to take on the back row he had little success and his passing was a little looped. Needs more games at this level and needs more power. Get on the weights in the closed season, Ryan.
8
Emyr Lewis
9
/10
A fantastic performance (again) with barn storming runs and superb tackling.
7
Martyn Williams
7
/10
Another performance of fits and bursts.
6
Owain Williams
7
/10
On his 200th appearance for Cardiff, his clever positioning for his try was something he would have learnt from Alan Phillips, but overall he played well and even tackled. Far more fire than of recent times. Enjoyed his fag and a pint after the game in the bar with the fitness coach. Mmmmmmm. Comments?
5
John Tait
7
/10
Showed up well around the field and looked good with ball in hand, apart from one try scoring opportunity dropped pass. Flies back to Canada on Saturday so good luck with the Canucks in the Epson Cup!
4
Steve Moore
6
/10
Injured at half time although he showed up well in the loose in the first half.
3
Spencer John
6
/10
Held his own in the scrum and carried the ball.
2
Jon Humphreys
7
/10
Apart from one tremendous bollocking of Vile in the second half and his customary Judo tackling and excellent driving play, did little!! Something's up here. Either he's injured or he's also not happy with what's going on behind closed doors! (Either way he must be gutted not to be in the Welsh squad for the French game coming up.)
1
Andrew Lewis
7
/10
Strangely subdued, unsurprisingly!!!