Cardiff

k.o. time: 5:30 pm

2 December, 2000

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 6,500

Scarlets
referee
Paul Adams
4
/10
Seemed totally oblivious to the obvious slow down the game tactics by Llanelli. Furthermore, he allowed their flankers to kill the ball at every ruck and was too swayed by his Bald touch judge.
weather
Dry but cold
worth annoying the wife factor
9
/10
our man of the match
Martyn Williams
general comment

3/10 for the game 15/10 for the result

scorers
Peter Rogers (1)
Neil Jenkins (1)
Neil Jenkins (5)
our choice for next week

vs Neath

k.o. time: 7:15 pm

5 December, 2000

The Gnoll

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Nick Walne
13
Jamie Robinson
12
Pieter Muller
11
Craig Morgan
10
Neil Jenkins
9
Robert Howley
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Martyn Williams
6
Greg Kacala
5
Mike Voyle
4
Steve Moore
3
Gary Powell
2
Andrew Lewis
1
Peter Rogers

Ray Gravell, Phil Bennett, JJ Williams, Muzzi Izzet, your boys took one hell of a thumping! Cardiff extended their record of not having lost to Llanelli at CAP and now are unbeaten against the infidel for six years at home. How pleasing it was to silence their supporters and send them away counting the points difference on the fingers of their feet.

But this was a dire game. Everything that's wrong with the Village league was on show. Despite 22 internationals on the pitch, the standard of rugby was poor with neither side able to dominate with any conviction, though there was only ever going to be one victor. Indeed, Cardiff were ahead from Jenkins' first penalty to the final whistle.

Both sets of players knew each other far too well to make this a thrilling contest. Constant Welsh training sessions mean that they probably spend as much time in the Welsh camp as they do in their own! If ever there was an argument for overturning the incestuous nature of the village league, this was it! And how apt it was that it should be that Llanelli should prove this …

Almost as disappointing as the rugby played, was Llanelli's totally negative attitude to the evening's "entertainment". No wonder no one goes to watch them play. From the first lineout onwards, McBryde took as long as possible to throw the ball in - some times as long as 30 seconds. Scrums were no better, and here Moon excelled in slowing things down. When the ball did emerge, Jones' only tactic was to kick it long and hope for a Cardiff error from the ensuing lineout (of which there were many). At rucks and mauls, the same tactics continued - slow it down at all costs. The game was therefore played at a funerial pace and was incapable of sparking into anything other than a game of kick tennis.

And what Paul Adams - the referee for the evening - clearly forgot, was that there was around 6.000 spectators in the ground who had paid to be entertained. He was totally incapable of controlling the scrum - allowing numerous resets at each infringement. He allowed Llanelli players to feign injury throughout the game and McBryde and co to make a mockery of time keeping. You may put up with it at Stradey, but we want more than 20 minutes of ball in play time! Constantly thorughout the second half either prop would call on the physio for some magic spray to ease the strain. At one time Bambi seemed to suffer from cramp! Clearly, since Llanelli have lost their fitness coach to Wales the player's performances have suffered and thier game is slower. The appointment of Proctor as Conditioning Coach has clearly paid dividends as each of his teamamtes now play at his pace. Perhaps John Davies takes the sprint training and Scott Quinnell is Handling Coach.

Selecting Finau - the failed Warrington RL prop - in the centre, was a sign of Gareth Jenkins' intentions before the game started. He could have picked Boobyer. Now neither pass at all, but at least Boobyer's got some pace about him. Everything was sooooooo slooooow. This was surely one of the worst back lines Llanelli have ever brought to CAP. Without Boobs there was no invention - Moon's pass takes longer to arrive than a Llanelli prop to a scrum - and Dafydd James suffered as he was constantly tackled by Muller on drift defence. Only in the last ten minutes when the game was lost did we see traditional exciting Llanelli rugby. Why?

As for the home team, their worries were in a different department. Back from the Welsh sessions, Howells' stamped his mark on the forward play and what a disastrously poor show of set piece play his team laid on for us. The lineouts are still a shambles and the Turks were able to pick off the ball almost at will. Spencer was comprehensively outscrummaged by Bambi and were it not for the total absence of the opposition backrow, Cardiff would not have had it as easy as they did.

Much credit should go to Martyn Williams and Emyr Lewis in this area for their tireless work in the tight - outplaying their opposite numbers. Scott - pay me and I'll play - Quinnell made a few crab-like charges but his handling still lets him down. But fair play to the Teflon man, he was the only member of the Llanelli back row who tried to do anything constructive.

The game started much as it continued with constant territorial pressure exerted by the Cardiff team. But it was the boot that ruled. Jenkins converted where Jones didn't and the home team went into half time 9-6 up. It was an eminently forgettable succession of wrong options, slow ball from the breakdown, clueless back play from the visitors and a total lack of basic set piece forward skills from the home team.

The second half saw more urgency. Cardiff were the only team looking to pick the pace up and play rugby. Howely was particularly determined to show Henry what a complete buffoon he is if he thinks Moon is the second best scrum half in Wales. Moon's passing takes the word slow to new levels. I've seen milk floats move faster up Leckwith Hill. It was inevitable that eventually a disaster would befall young Jones and so it happened. There'd been signs throughout the game that Jones was under pressure and Howley made Moon pay. Charging down a loose laboured kick from the Scarlet no 10, the ball bounced kindly for Rita (who'd only come on 10 minutes earlier for Alp) and then wobbling Bok flopped over the line with considerable assistance from Martyn Williams. And what about that celebration? You'd think he'd just ordered a quarter pounder! Still, anyone who scored against the Turks in a Cardiff jersey is an instant hero with us, so good on you Rita! More so if he only put as much effort into learning the binding rules as he does into his celebrations he wouldn't give away three penalties in a row.

Finally, the Turks were kicked into action. Rita may have nibbled their kebabs, but at last they started to play rugby instead of slowing everything down. Briefly, we saw glimpses of the game that could have been if Gareth Jenkins had told his players to be more positive. The ball was moved swiftly from end to end and counter attack followed counter attack. Were it not for a professional foul by the visitors no 11, Cardiff in the shape of Rhys Williams would have been under the post for another try.

Considering that the touch judge gave Llanelli six points, and that Rhys should have had a try under the posts, a 30-point gap over our long standing rivals did much to temper recent miserable memories.

As both team performances were awful we were only treated by the individual battles that went on. Stephen Jones must visit Easterbuy's Doctor daily, praying for his return because Moon is ruining his game. How his performance differed from that against South Africa 'A' when Cooper provided with him with time. Then he was able to take on the back row and create space but Cardiff's drift defence allowed Humph to tackle him more often then not. The half back battle was so badly onesided that it was embarassing - Howley and Jenkins put pace on the ball and kicked accurately into space, whereas Moon's box kicking was aimless and his pass allowed Jones no time at all. There was only one set of international class half backs playing and this was the major difference between the two teams. 'What a waste of money" was the chant from the Turks - when you've got it, flaunt it!!!

You're next Lyn! Good job you don't have to catch a plane for Tuesday's game! Likkul Shane against Nick Walne - we can hardly wait! Again Cardiff will come up against a spirited bunch of forwards who scrummage well and pacy backs - let's hope that we see some rugby this time, however.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
7
/10
Faultless under the high ball, Llanelli kicked a lot of possession to him but he didn't use it too well - too often there were too many aimless kicks back at the Turks.
14
Nick Walne
8
/10
A rock in defence, he took on his opposite number and powered through the small man's tackles on more than one occasion. If ever there was an example of why you can't play likkul Shane at the top level then this was it. Still stays on his wing and doesn't come looking for work. When there is an absence of a big ball carrier in the back row, it's amazing that the coaching staff don't try to use Nick more often from second and third phase attacks.
13
Jamie Robinson
7
/10
Slow ball meant that he lacked the space to make any inroads into the Turks' defence. Nevertheless, another immovable object in defence and blotted out the effectiveness of the excellent Dafydd James.
12
Pieter Muller
7
/10
Plenty of big tackles against the prop Finau. The predictability of the Turks attacks meant that he was rarely tested in defence. However with ball in hand on more than one occasion he took the wrong option.
11
Craig Morgan
9
/10
Predictably completely outplayed Proctor with pace and power in attack and defence. Even from a standing start the man can make the yards. With defences up so flat, better communication with Jenkins should have resulted in him chasing more pressure kicks.
10
Neil Jenkins
7
/10
Kicked well from static play though his passing was way off cock on a number of occasions. Made one wonderful break turning Stephen Jones (big and clumsy that he is) one way and then the other. Outplayed the young pretender and missed only one kick at goal(?).
9
Robert Howley
8
/10
The real catalyst in the Cardiff team - always trying to pick up the pace and play with pace. His undying professionalism was responsible for winning Cardiff the game though he knew with Moon's floaters there was always the chance of the interception/charge down. Still slow to move the ball from second and third phase rucks, though that's probably a result of the woeful clearing work done by the pack in front of him.
8
Emyr Lewis
7
/10
Defended stoutly and let nothing past him. Worked hard in the tight phase though barely took a ball on the charge all game.
7
Martyn Williams
9
/10
An excellent game from the geographically challenged valley boy. He was everywhere! Swarmed all over the Llanelli attackers and won an outrageous amount of ball on the floor. Showed us what Wales missed with someone there at the breakdown to win the ball quickly.
6
Dan Baugh
5
/10
Started the game OK, but faded badly as the match progressed . Let's hope he's not carrying an injury. Give him a rest until the Ulster game!!
5
Mike Voyle
5
/10
Competed as best he could in the loose and made some good tackles, but the lineout is a shambles and we went back in the scrum. Gave Llanelli a ridiculous three points with an unnecessary bit of sculduggery in the lineout.
4
Craig Quinnell
7
/10
Charged well when he had the opportunity but again the lineout is still a mess. As for the scrums, with Spencer going backwards at a rate of knots, we're still in trouble there - when is Dai returning?
3
Spencer John
4
/10
Out-scrummaged by Bambi and nowhere in the loose. Can't help but feel he's just too lightweight for a prop. Mobility may be the key thing these days, but if your scrum's going backwards, it screws up any attacking possibilities.
2
Jon Humphreys
5
/10
Lineout is a shambles and the scrum is unstable. His support play is still excellent and shows his ability to read the game. High tackle count as ever, but we need to get the basics right - and that means the scrum and lineout.
1
Andrew Lewis
7
/10
Once more did more than hold his own in the scrum against the bigger Madden who he comprehensively out-scrummaged. Around the field his tackle count was also high and he worked tirelessly in the loose. Should have moved to hooker when Rita came on.