Cardiff

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

13 May, 2000

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 5,000

Swansea
referee
David Davies
4
/10
Another in the long line of WRU referees with their clear bias against CRFC. Whether he was disallowing tries, suffering from selected vision problems or simply ignoring the way both Walne and Spencer almost had their heads taken off, he was a complete nightmare. He tried to keep the game going, but at the expense of playing to the rules. The only way Cardiff will find decent referees is by playing in a British League and getting away from the anti-Cardiff bias that pollutes every game.
weather
Sunny and warm - perfect for running rugby
worth annoying the wife factor
9
/10
our man of the match
Mike Rayer
general comment

excellent game spoiled only by the result(!) and some woeful refereeing decisions.

scorers
Gethin Rhys Williams (1)
Craig Morgan (1)
Mike Rayer (1)
Neil Jenkins (1)
Neil Jenkins (4)
Neil Jenkins (4)

Wholly predictably, our ground record has gone to the team who last defeated us at home in December 1997.

The game started at a frightening pace from both teams with a well drilled and well coached Swansea side full of aggression and determination in the tackle. White jerseys took the ball at real pace and found acres of space through a leaking Cardiff defence. Too many players made feeble attempts in the tackle allowing the Mighty Whites to pour through. No one was more alive to the open spaces in the Cardiff ranks than Alex Lawson who had a storming game, dancing through a field of flailing arms or steaming past a static Jenkins. Getting his line moving so speedily meant that Cardiff's defence creaked, groaned and snapped under the weight of attacks.

Whilst Swansea's strength was at half back, Cardiff's was with Alfie and the back three. Give these boys a sniff of a chance and no one can live with their pace. Craig Morgan is now an established try machine, and must be close to overtaking Alfie's records. If only he had been playing throughout the season, what sort of rugby would we have seen? Whilst Martyn Williams was always on hand to support the ball carrier, the rest of the aging back row was puffing along behind the returning Swansea defence. Similarly, with Rayer not the fastest man on the pitch and the prima donna content to perform at his usual minimum standard, tactically Cardiff failed to maximize on their superiority in this area. More box kicks from Ryan Powell may have been more appropriate.

But the seeds for the Cardiff defeat were sown by another shambolic forward performance. Geraint John maybe doing an excellent job with the free-running Cardiff backline, but Howells is having a complete shocker with the forwards. How the standard has fallen since Charlie packed his bags! Howells, your pack didn't turn up in Montferrand, produced a shambolic performance against Newport, were outfought and outmuscled at Stradey and now you've lost us our ground record! With the squad you had, anything less than a resounding trouncing of all and sundry in the Village League would have been a travesty. But when the chips were down, when Cardiff needed to dig deep, your pack let us down!

In the lineout, players spent more time finger pointing as Humph's throws sailed over Vile's head than charging back to make the tackles to make up for their collective errors. At restarts - putting aside the fact that the prima donna's kicks do not hang in the air long enough to allow his forwards a chance - its a case of "after you ..... no, after you" as both second rows are reluctant to take responsibility. In the scrum, bodies are popping up in the front row and Tarw is slow to pick up the ball in retreat. In the maul, our puny efforts often result in us going backwards, with body positions all over the place. Only at the ruck do Cardiff show signs of making something happen.

Please, please, please, Mr Thomas - sign us Jim Telfor!

By half time, Cardiff had conceded a staggering 31 points! Only one team this season has scored more in a whole game against us at home!!! Some of the attempts at tackling were woeful. The whole team seemed to take the pitch expecting to win - taking 5 yard lineouts from the start, instead of taking the three points. The collective arrogance displayed meant that there was a look of disbelief on many faces as the final whistle went - what were you so surprised about, boys? Swansea are a class team with a class coach. Given their recent record Cardiff's ward full of injuries, they were always going to run you close! As the match built to a climax in the last 10 minutes, whilst John Plumtree brought Charvis, Arwel and Mark Taylor into the fray. Meanwhile, with an aging back row flagging in the heat, Howells brought on Lyndon Mustoe.

In the second half, the team found some fight and determination mainly as a result of the support from us lot - the crowd! As we screamed and shouted for more effort, the players seemed to respond and fought back to lead (and win the second half, at least!) until Arwel's excellent last minute kick. A few minutes earlier, the prima donna had missed a similar kick.

But this was a marvelous game of attacking rugby played at real pace and commitment. Swansea were a team determined to come away from Cardiff with a victory. On the whole, the Whites deserved to win the game because of their determination and hunger. Cardiff expected to win, but Swansea wanted to win.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
6
/10
Match winning pace against anybody other than Kevin Morgan. Still dodgy under the high ball but coming more into play at outside half from second phase. Needs to work more on kicking from hand.
14
Nick Walne
6
/10
Still staying on his wing and waiting for the play to come to him. Unfortunately, in the second half most of the attacks came his way and despite his strength in the tackle, Cardiff failed to support him quickly enough at the breakdown.
13
Mike Rayer
8
/10
Marvelous performance showing there's still life in the old dog yet! At last a centre who can make a kick! Simple chip over the top showed there's more to breaking a defence down than just running straight at it!
12
Gareth Thomas
7
/10
Pace is still awesome and at outside centre linking with Morgan and Williams, this is where Cardiff's most potent attacking came from.
11
Craig Morgan
8
/10
The try machine that is Morgan keeps on running them in. Even against Rees he was a real handful - always making the yards though not always finding the support. Drifted out of the game in the final quarter when we needed him more in it!
10
Neil Jenkins
4
/10
A total lack of commitment in defence made Alex Lawson looks streets faster than him. Constantly tackled the ball carrier's arm instead of dumping him backwards (a la Johnny), allowing off load in the tackle. Missed a critical kick in the second half which he should have got (similar to the one that Arwel won the game with). Made some Pelous type errors when Swansea went down to 14 men in the second half. Made an even bigger error in the last minutes of the game when opting to run the ball from his own 22 instead of kicking to touch. The man is a real disappointment and is just going through the motions. How could Howells keep him on the pitch when his woeful performance in the first half gifted Swansea so much ground in attack?
9
Ryan Powell
6
/10
Busy at scrum half, always trying to raise the pace of the game, but needs to work on his kicking skills to probe the open spaces and use his two wingers to better effect.
8
Emyr Lewis
7
/10
Some good charges in the loose and stout defending but just drifts in and out of the game instead of stamping his authority on it. Slow to pick the ball up from a retreating scrum.
7
Martyn Williams
8
/10
Boobyer-esque bit of stupidity cost him 10 minutes in the bin (becoming a bit of a habit?) but other than that another fine display of aggression and determination. A real thorn in the side of Swansea and seems to have worked on winning the ball from the tackler. Learning from Northampton's skills, he's so fast to his feet that he can often pinch ball from the tackler before support arrive. Stay on the pitch for 80 minutes Martyn and you'll get a 10!!
6
Owain Williams
5
/10
Some crucial missed tackles around the park resulted in a flood of Swansea tries in the first half. Faded badly in the last 20 minutes. A man running out of puff. Howells should have brought on the mad kiwi to bolster our attack and defence as the game entered its crucial stages.
5
Mike Voyle
3
/10
Couldn't catch a cold. Feeble attempts at restarts with a reluctance to support the jumper let alone go for the ball himself. Unwilling to take responsibilities. Woeful performance in the lineout. Too busy discussing with Humph about the fine arts of throwing instead of getting back to stop Swansea tries. Another bitter disappointment.
4
Steve Moore
5
/10
Pretty anonymous despite having something to prove. Injured/tired/couldn't give a sh@t? Don't know. You decide.
3
Gary Powell
6
/10
Good pace with ball in hand and held his own against Darren "Five Bellies" Morris. Made some good tackles in defence. This man has a future if he can learn some scrummaging skills from Dai. Trouble is, who's going to teach him how to maul properly?
2
Jon Humphreys
5
/10
Worst game of the season from the man going backwards. Lineouts were a shambles and the whole pack is obviously deeply unhappy with what's going on. In the scrum, he's popping up too easily. In the loose his pace is taking on zimmer frame proportions. A real lack of communication with his fellow front row men resulted in turnovers, knock ons and worst of all a Swansea try when both he and Spencer were left looking at each other. Humph is not a happy bunny.
1
Spencer John
6
/10
Got through a lot of work around the park with ball in hand. Lucky to end the game with a head on his shoulders. Scrummaging was pretty disorganised. Tackling left a lot to be desired, but he wasn't the only guilty party by a long stretch.