Cardiff

k.o. time: 2:30 pm

10 March, 2001

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 5,000

Glasgow
referee
David McHugh
1
/10
Absolute drivel. How can this man be awarded an international? Despite great experience he was totally inactive against the Scottish diving on top of the ball at EVERY ruck! The player must stay on his feet Magoo! He was also completely unaware of the Scottish off-the-ball obstruction - and when Fourie took exception to having his jersey pulled well away from play, he YELLOW CARDED him! He is inept. And we won't even mention the wretched "tackle" on Howley that he DID see (because he waved play on) only to have his Touch Judge point out the bleeding obvious. A shocking performance. God help the game at the Stade de France.
weather
Very windy, some heavy showers in the second half
worth annoying the wife factor
5
/10
our man of the match
Martyn Williams
scorers
Gethin Rhys Williams (1)
Gareth Thomas (1)
Craig Morgan (2)
Neil Jenkins (4)
Neil Jenkins (1)
our choice for next week

vs Caerphilly

k.o. time: 2:30 pm

24 March, 2001

St Helens

15
Craig Morgan
14
Nick Walne
13
Owain Ashman
12
Gareth Thomas
11
Paul Jones
10
Gethin Rhys Williams
9
Ryan Powell
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Dan Baugh
6
Greg Kacala
5
Mike Voyle
4
Craig Quinnell
3
Spencer John
2
Andrew Lewis
1
Ken Fourie

If this is the kind of performance that we will witness for the remainder of the season then we can kiss goodbye any chance of silverware this season. Against a pathetically woeful Glasgow side (how bad must their club structure have been to impose super clubs on Scotland?) Cardiff played at no more than 75%, doing the basics well in order to win. The conditions were against flowing rugby - if seems that before every game "the pitch was totally unplayable just hours before kick-off" as the Old Duffer on the PA tells us - with a strong wind and intermittent showers making passing and running very difficult so Cardiff based their victory on a very good back row performance, where Martyn Williams was outstanding.

Playing into a very strong wind in the first half, Cardiff started the game in predictable "post-VC inspirational dressing room" motivation. A sideways run by Andrew Lewis, no support runners from the subsequent ruck and a penalty given away for holding onto the ball. How refreshing it is to know that your team will always take the field 100% motivated and ready to work for their teammates. With predictability Tommy Hayes, he of the big reputation, smashed over the penalty, only to embarrassingly miss an easier penalty some moments later. Unfortunately, this summed up the skill level of the Scottish Super Club. Whilst they had all the conditions in their favour they were totally unable to take advantage of them. They were absolutely no competition for a Cardiff team playing without real effort. Hayes missed an easy kick at goal, distributed poorly and with one comical restart (straight from Schoolboy rugby) made a mockery of the game. Even with McHugh favouring their rucking technique of jumping on top of the ball they were still stuffed - the WRUin must take lessons from the SRU in how to make refs bent as the Scottish teams win all their home games. Oh! not quite - they lost to Swansea when the referee was from Canada, but that must be a total coincidence.

Cardiff huffed and puffed in the first half as the conditions generally got the better of them. Rhys Williams showed his counter attacking skills as he continually ran back misdirected Hayes' kicks. His positioning was good and totally snuffed out Glasgow's one-dimensional game plan of kick and chase. But Cardiff did try to play the right tactics on such a foul day. From good lineout ball courtesy of Voyle, who is playing some of his best rugby for Cardiff (I know, it's not such a big statement but he is playing better!), most ball was mauled into the wind to try and suck in the Glasgow defence. The maulling technique of the forwards is abysmal, as each maul consisted of a competition of whose @rse could be highest in the air. The mauls were of a pace similar to the speed of thought but they were still too good for Glasgow. Cleverly, the back row stayed away from the lines out and were used as ball carriers amongst the backs.

It was from one such lineout that Cardiff scored an excellent try from Rhys Williams. The evergreen Krooklock took the inside pass and burst through some weak "tackling" from Glasgow. The ball was worked wide to the speedy Nobody who, learning from the Rugby League inspired English, passed during contact and Williams took the ball at speed from the inside pass. This is very difficult to defend against because of the number of dummy runners that Cardiff had in the midfield. Alfie and Crazy Dan Baugh were constantly charging at Glasgow, so Krooklock was able to steal behind them "unnoticed". Of course Jinx converted and also had a penalty in the half to send Cardiff into the lead 10 - 6 up.

How any team can spend most of the half defending and go into the second half behind when they have a gale force wind behind them is unbelievable. Yet Glasgow managed it - especially after the sin binning of the centre. Richie Dixon must take lessons from Dean Richards in how to slow down ball and obstruct players off the ball, as his team were more interested in doing this than trying to create tries. Fourie and Young spent most of the game pushing off players who were grabbing their shirts and of course both were involved in trouble later on.

The second half saw much of the same from Cardiff, although Jinx produced some sublime kicks to show Hayes how to play with the wind behind you. Running and passing were now easier for the Cardiff backs and they made the most of it, none more so than Jamie Robinson who struggled into the wind with his passing. He is becoming a more thoughtful player, however, with an excellent chip over the top almost becoming a try.

The recycling of the ball in the second half was magnificent with Martyn Williams playing the best rugby of his career since his international call up. His effort to try to be first to the break down was meant that he excelled. It was clever recycling, as well as good thinking from Uncle Fester, that created the opening for another moment of genius from Nobody's Perfect on the left wing. With space in front of him he accelerated only to be confronted by two Scottish internationals - including Glenn Metcalfe. So he kicked ahead, was obstructed and put out of his stride, yet was still way too fast for Metcalfe, who is touted as a Lion. What more must Morgan do before the fool that is Henry picks him? Perhaps he should have gone under the posts. Yes - that must be it! 70 metre tries are worthless unless you score under the posts. BUT when you've got Jinx slapping the over from everywhere, does it matter?

The second half was a pretty dire affair, sparked alive my Morgan but with only one more moment of inspiration. This followed a Ring-like pass from Robinson which he delayed brilliantly (especially when you take into account some of his first half efforts) to allow Gareth Thomas a typical try. He was too fast and too strong for Glasgow throughout and with the returning Paul Jones taking the attention of Metcalfe, he was able to ghost under the posts, with Jinx to convert.

So Cardiff did enough to ruin a very weak Glasgow team who bring nothing to this competition apart from the experience of playing away from home with a bent ref. Why are they here? They bring no away fans as they have no home fans. Kick them out - that is how you reduce the fixture list. It's simple.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
7
/10
The ups and downs of Rhys Williams!!!!! Some lovely mazing runs to create counter attacks and some woeful kicking straight into touch. Consistent? No.
14
Nick Walne
7
/10
A fairly lazy performance from another doing just enough. Just as Nobody left his wing to score his first try, this is what you must do Nick! With no Alfie next season you must be used up the middle.
13
Jamie Robinson
7
/10
The one sublime pass to create Alfie's try earns you a seven Jamie - but only just. 90% of your passing is schoolboy like and embarrassing, yet every now and again you pass like Mark Ring. WHY? You are so annoying - you have the talent so it must be your concentration level. WAKE UP!
12
Gareth Thomas
8
/10
He will be sorely missed when he plays games like this. His willingness to straighten the line and his ability to burst through tackles makes him the perfect attacking weapon at this level. The Scottish international centres did not want to know him, they avoided him in attack and tried not to tackle him!
11
Craig Morgan
9
/10
Again almost Perfect. The way he took his second try was marvelous and is now becoming the trademark Morgan try - along with the salute! The speed past Metcalfe shows his international class and it is only because Henry has his head up his @rse that he doesn't get picked.
10
Neil Jenkins
7
/10
He did just enough to keep Cardiff ahead. He is the master of the 75% performance - pull out a touch line conversion, or a 60 metre punt just when it is needed to add momentum to his team.
9
Ryan Powell
7
/10
Every long pass he puts in seems to take so much effort, but this is his only real weakness. He definitely needs to speed up his passing and make sure that it is just a little more accurate. When he gets it right, Jenkins has so much space, but on many occasions against Glasgow Jenkins was forced to kick because of bad service. Powell made many excellent sniping runs and he tackles twice his body weight!
8
Greg Kacala
8
/10
Just short of his 55th birthday and he is still good enough to play at this level. Many trademark wrap around tackles - opposition must hate playing against him and Crazy! - and some good ball carries. His strength isn't as fearsome as in the past, but is still too much for many opposition forwards.
7
Martyn Williams
9
/10
An excellent performance from a man given a new lease of life by his international selection. His effort levels were terrific, always trying to be first to the breakdown. If only he could take some tackling lessons from Crazy than he would be really on top form.
6
Dan Baugh
7
/10
A fairly typical Crazy performance with many attack-stopping tackles and barn-storming runs. I think that his performance summed up the performance of the team (again!) in that he seemed to play at 75%, just enough to win without over stretching.
5
Mike Voyle
7
/10
Some clean line out takes and some abrasive collisions in midfield. His effort levels were high but he must learn a better tackling technique.
4
Craig Quinnell
7
/10
Fester is becoming a thoughtful footballer, perhaps learning positional sense from his brother's play. On numerous occasions he was covering back, taking the position of full back when Rhys Williams' attacked. Is this laziness? No, just excellent cover as twice he prevented Glasgow taking a kick and chase route by marshalling the touch line. His mauling technique, however, is dreadful.
3
Dai Young
7
/10
A typical Dai Young performance, whereby he tackles anything at the fringe of the ruck. We even saw him carry some ball, which he always presents very well for the scrum half - a payback from his rugby league days. Is his awesome scrummaging on the wane? Or did he just enjoy a very tough battle with David Hilton?
2
Andrew Lewis
7
/10
Once he had the measure of the wind his line out throwing improved. He deserves a run in the position but does need to work on his body angles in driving mauls - as do ALL his colleagues!
1
Ken Fourie
8
/10
A really abrasive, committed performance. His scrummaging is strong but not as strong as Spencer's, who showed the difference when he came on. In the loose, however, Fourie is destructive - his tackling is fearsome as he only goes for chest high tackles. He gives it his all and hopefully Uncle Peter will give him a contract that will keep him at the club for many years to come.