Newport

k.o. time: 3:15 pm

26 December, 2000

Rodney Parade

Spectators: 11,500

Cardiff
referee
Nigel Williams
2
/10
This man clearly does not understand the third man to the breakdown rule, nor does he understand front row play OR anything about the ruck. Sound familiar?
weather
Dry but cold
worth annoying the wife factor
6
/10
our man of the match
Neil Jenkins
scorers
Neil Jenkins (1)
Owain Ashman (1)
Neil Jenkins (2)
Neil Jenkins (2)
Neil Jenkins (1)
our choice for next week

vs Bedwas

k.o. time: 12:00 am

30 December, 2000

The Bridge Field

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Richard Newton
13
Owain Ashman
12
Mike Rayer
11
Craig Morgan
10
Lee Davies
9
Kevin Ellis
8
Owain Williams
7
Wayne Fyvie
6
Greg Kacala
5
John Tait
4
Luke Tait
3
Gary Powell
2
Damien Geraghty
1
Spencer John

It is always a sign of a good team when they badly and still win. Or is it just the sign of a poor league that a team playing at only 60% of their ability can still easily beat one of the major contenders for the League title? Just before the Christmas period Cardiff announced a major sponsorship deal, perhaps it should have been Houdini that put money into the club as he would have the greatest exposure from their recent performance. Howells is lucky that Peter Thomas can afford Howley and Jenkins, as well as Geraint John, otherwise he would have gone a long time ago.

The style and manner of Cardiff during their "warm up" bode well for Newport as the effort put in by the players was woeful - it must have been on a par with the Referee's efforts in learning the ruck laws. We feared for a maulling up front as Newport seemed much more aware and pumped up. Indeed the first period of the game was excellent for the home team as a catch and drive took them well into the Cardiff 22. The maul was collapsed and a penalty was awarded, yet when the advantage was played Howarth chose a drop goal instead of using the overlap, knowing that if he failed the penalty was awarded. This was just the start of the dire performance by Howarth and his first great mistake. Sorry, Shane, but when your forwards produce quality ball like that, you must make the most of it.

Such was the story of most of the first half - excellent Newport forward play creating gaps in the Cardiff defence, only for the abysmal Newport backs to blow it. This was exactly the same story as at the Arms Park and Newport had learned nothing. Howarth's punting was woeful, which made it easy for Ashman at full back, and Jones-Hughes showed his pace and was tackled constantly by Emyr Lewis!!!! All Newport had to show for their obvious forward advantage was a further penalty by Howarth, after he had embarrassingly missed one from only 22 metres - perhaps he has the same Tutor as Arwel?

In return Cardiff had flashes of brilliance - Jenkins' break and inside pass to Robinson, Walne's break from the inside pass, Howley's charge down of Grandpa All Black's kick - and Jenkins kicked both his penalty attempts. It should have been 12-6, but it was only 6-6.

At half time Cardiff must have realised that by putting in a slight bit of effort they could win the game and increase the chance of retaining the league. But Jenkins realised that he could win the game along with Howley's help and the two Lions were incredible in the second half.

More woeful kicking from Newport allowed Cardiff a counter attacking opportunity early in the second half. The pace of Ashman and both centres were more than Newport could handle and speed was beating bulk throughout the whole game. The spaces opened up and Jinx eye for the gap allowed him to stroll through and create space for Il Postino and John Wayne. With the ball in hand Wayne embarrassingly waltzed passed some attempted tackles and the looping Jinx scored an easy try - which of course he converted. Another quick attack shortly after, gave the field position for a drop goal attempt - which of course he converted. Within ten minutes Cardiff had showed Newport the way to play rugby and where to invest in players - one more score and the game would have been over.

Yet Newport have many good players who took control of the game. Howarth took a back seat and continued to pass the ball out. Teichmann faded into the game, after previously being anonymous apart from the lineout. Snow took the ball in better field positions and Newport were able to up the tempo and scored an excellent try in doing so. Grandpa scooped over the conversion and the game was back on the boil.

Howley and Jenkins kept pushing Newport further back into their half and played on the troubles of Newport's back three. Pini is a poor player and the half backs kicked him to death. As soon as Newport had scored, Cardiff were able to get a field position from which to attack. The lineout was secure, the ruck won in midfield and the full back strolled through a gap as big as Ayers Rock as the Greedy Aussie B showed his pace. Ashman is quick, JJH isn't - an easy try - which of course he converted.

Now Newport had to throw everything at Cardiff in order to get back into the game. Cardiff went back into their shell and allowed Newport to attack. Howarth went for the drop goal to cut the deficit to a try and conversion and the finale was set up. Newport pressed and pressed but were always unable to break the defensive line which was superbly marshaled by Jenkins. The joy on the Cardiff player's faces as the ref blew the final whistle showed how much it meant to them. Now the tough games commence.

Praise must be given to Howley and Jenkins who must have sealed their joint international future with that performance. Their complete control in the second half won Cardiff the game and proved that they can be Lions class - when they want to be.

Before the game we had "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by the BaHa Men, at the end Newport's bandwagon supporters were the BooHoo men.

15
Owain Ashman
8
/10
a fine full performance from a guy with a promising future. His pace is a great asset (ask The Greedy Aussie B) but he was strong under the two poor high balls Howarth kicked at him. His confidence grew as Howarth got worse.
14
Nick Walne
8
/10
should he continue with these excellent performances of power, speed and strength, he will be in line for the wing spot against England. At last we saw him taking inside passes and breaking tackles.
13
Jamie Robinson
8
/10
excellent defence and pace, we know who was the better outside centre on show at Rodney Parade. His angles of running are excellent, as highlighted by Jenkins inside pass in the first half, as his support play.
12
Gareth Thomas
9
/10
a storming defensive performance of big tackles. Any Newport back rower in midfield was repelled, and neither Newport centre made any room. Another whose angles of running caused Newport problems, plus he was instrumental in Jenkins' try.
11
Craig Morgan
7
/10
had very little to do. really, apart from nail the pedestrian Mostyn and kick long into the Newport half - both of which he found very easy.
10
Neil Jenkins
9
/10
only a few poor punts away from a score of 10. His goal kicking was perfect, he made a fool of Howarth and Newport's back row with two excellent breaks and his passing was always the right option. Surely now, the Arwel "whoops I've got no confidence" Thomas debate is over.
9
Robert Howley
9
/10
a superb performance, summed up be his covering tackles on Rod Snow, where he had to sprint from one side of the pitch to the other after 78 minutes. His commitment was exceptional, and when combining with Jenkins, the control over the game won Cardiff the match.
8
Emyr Lewis
7
/10
some strong turnover tackles - of which the referee had no concept - and won good lineout ball.
7
Martyn Williams
9
/10
his tackling was immense, as was his support play. This performance was international class as he barely missed one tackle all game. His pace from the breakdown meant that Newport rarely crossed the gain line and were constantly forced to play on the back foot.
6
Greg Kacala
7
/10
his greatest asset is to slow down the driving maul by getting in completely strange positions. Another who tackled well, but should have been replaced earlier by Fyvie as he was losing the pace of the game.
5
Mike Voyle
7
/10
His defence around the rucks is very good as is his attitude to defence. Twice Ben Breeze tried to run around him and failed (!!) as he chased kicks.
4
Steve Moore
6
/10
a quiet game for Moore as he and Voyle struggled in the scrums but were happy to just defend and tackle.
3
Ken Fourie
6
/10
totally outscrummaged by the excellent Snow, yet he never gave in and continued to play on despite in obvious pain. Another who tackles and rucks well, but does like to carry the ball.
2
Jon Humphreys
8
/10
The major defensive player in the Cardiff pack. He always looks to tackle the big man and he followed Snow around all game, waiting to make the big hit. Only when he ignored Howley's ball from the kick off did he make mistakes as, again, he put his body on the line.
1
Andrew Lewis
7
/10
he struggles to scrummage against top class props when he has no support from his second rows behind him. In the loose, however, his stamina is incredible. He always makes the tackle in the loose and pops up in the centre to carry the ball in attack. He must love to play loosehead when Quinnell scrummages.