Glasgow

k.o. time: 3:45 pm

4 November, 2001

Spectators: 4,823

Cardiff
referee
Giulio de Santis
8
/10
Home Rating : 10/10 It's becoming almost impossible to win away from home in this competition due to weak and ineffectual refereeing. The Italians have shown this season that their club teams are not good enough to enter the competition and their referees make the game a lottery. Sad to say, but only with a strong English referee do you have any chance of a fair crack at victory. They seem to be the one's least fearful of any sort of crowd protest. McSporan was way out of his depth - no concept of the offside line- no idea of the rules of scrummaging- no idea that when the scrum half touches the ball, the ball is out.
weather
Dry, Cold and Sunny
worth annoying the wife factor
2
/10
our man of the match
Craig Quinnell
scorers
Andrew Henry (1)
Gethin Rhys Williams (1)
Pieter Muller (1)
Iestyn Harris (1)
Iestyn Harris (3)
Iestyn Harris (2)
our choice for next week

vs Cambridge University

k.o. time: 3:30 pm

24 November, 2001

Cardiff Arms Park

15
Paul Jones
14
Craig Hudson
13
Pieter Muller
12
Matt Allen
11
Craig Morgan
10
Nick Wakley
9
Chris Miller
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Martyn Williams
6
Dan McShane
5
John Tait
4
Luke Tait
3
Gary Powell
2
Greg Woods
1
Spencer John

Another defeat away from home for a Cardiff team who yet again failed to perform against weaker opposition in Europe. Llanelli drew an Italian in their group and got 15 tries, we drew an Italian in our group of Dixonesque proportions and he gave the home team 15 penalties. Six per game - we think not, Rudy!

Forget the rubbish you read in the press-how four tries apiece can be described as a drubbing illustrates the ignorance of most of the so-called rugby journalists in this country. Cardiff lost this game for two reasons - a total lack of drive and vigour from the front five and a huge penalty count awarded against them by the Italian - Giuseppe de McSporan. The final score showed four tries all - the difference was the penalty count. Slow second/third phase possession for the Scots always resulted in penalties in the third quarter of the game. The New Zealander at outside half slotted them over.

Wasted chances in the first five minutes gifted the momentum to Glasgow, as Cardiff chose to kick perfectly runnable possession away in aimless pokes to the home team's 22. Three phases of wasted ball was given to the opposition in a tactic clearly designed to take the sting out of the opposition instead of to remind them of the overwhelming superiority of our back line. This set the pattern for the game. Gone was the carefree approach of last weekend - throw the ball into space and get Jamie, Sulli and The Usher running onto the ball, now The Whippet was hoofing the ball downfield. What was all that about? Did Henry tell him to show him his kicking skills before the game?

The home team ran the ball back at the Welsh and looked dangerous from the start. There was far more aggression from their front five who approached rucks with relish. Our players trotted across the pitch - theirs sprinted into spaces with an appetite sadly missing from last week's performance. Within 15 minutes we were 15-0 down. At this stage, no one was running off Harris and the paper-thin confidence had drained from the pack. Why the aimless kicking? Why different tactics away from home (underlining the complex)? Why not play the same game that worked so successfully last weekend?

A total lack of aggression around the tackle point meant ball was recycled with ease by the Scots. The rucking was weak and we came off second best (again). Just how can you win back possession if you don't concede rucks? As a result, Cardiff were playing the game on the back foot, over run by a hungrier Glasgow front five. The Scots were well coached, well drilled and highly committed. But it was all kick and clap rugby with no flare. Whereas Cardiff clearly had the more skillful and pacey back line, Glasgow did the simple things right.

Tommy Smith's passing was truly awful however, and it's easy to see why he spends all his time kicking. He helped to keep the score down by booting the ball so often instead of attacking Cardiff's weaknesses. Still, the ra! ra! rugger buggers in the crowd luv it! All this kicking at goal is great entertainment for them and they greeted each boomer with bewildering enthusiasm. All this line kicking is just what they want. Unfortunately, under 4,500 of them turned up, and that goes a long way to explaining why they have to pump artificial applause into the speakers at Murrayfield. It's all pretty dire and turgid stuff. Glasgow desperately need a running outside half if they're to play an entertaining brand of rugby and not rely on homer referees to give them the penalties they need to win games. They will concede at least 50 points in Montferrand (with a non-English ref).

Cardiff's scrum shunted the Glasgow pack backwards all evening with Dai Young eating Hilton for breakfast. Hilton was unable to bind properly all game - understandable considering the pressure he was under - but the officials didn't know the rules, so he got away with it most of the time.

There is a lack of motivational passion on show and a lack of leadership with things get tough - a real lack of cohesion. Dai Young is a quiet character who may do well at press conferences where he's learned all the sound bites, but what we need is a motivator to rouse the troops from their lethargy. Now we have one month off from competitive rugby before the farcical fixture list throws up the same game again - this time with a Scottish ref! Expect the penalties to flow and a similar result.

Cataloguing the errors of de McSporan and his fellow officials would take up far too many mega bytes of boredom, but it is worthwhile trying to highlight a few. When charging out of defence in the second half, Sulli's jersey was blatantly being pulled by a desperate defender holding him back. Last season, Craig Morgan was yellow-carded for exactly the same offence which helped in no small measure, the home team to win. One Sunday? Nothing. Following a speculative kick and chase by Howley, Muller and he pounced on Metcalfe and tried to rip the ball from his grasp. Penalty to Glasgow. Why? There was no concept of an offside line at rucks and mauls with players coming in from all sorts of angles. Hilton didn't bind correctly at one scrum throughout the game - only two penalties against him. Not one penalty was given for the Scots popping up in the front row. We could go on, but suffice to say that the man was out of his depth. In defence, Cardiff could not touch the ball in the ruck when it was available. Most of the time, however, it was impossible to get anywhere near the ball as the Scots jumped on it. If a move broke down for Glasgow through poor handling or a lack of support, the Italian gifted three points with a penalty for off side.

Scottish professional rugby in Glasgow is woefully underresourced and spectator unfriendly. The ground at Hughendon is similar to that at South Wales Police with a farcical site of Peter Thomas and other assorted millionaires queuing with the plebs like us under the stand in the mud outside the portaloos. This ground makes the Gnoll look like the Millennium stadium. Woodstock eat your heart out as we sloshed around in the mud outside the foul smelling toilets. No wonder nobody watches the game here! If you get to the ground any later than an hour before kick off your standing in the open air - prepare to get wet. There is no club house - just a tent. Instead of spending 150 grand on an aging New Zealander, the SRU should invest some money in the grounds - this one was a bloody disgrace!

Glasgow started the game with a real pace and hunger and drove hard into rucks and mauls with a ferocity sadly lacking from last week. Cardiff mirrored Glasgow's performance of a week ago with some pretty uncommitted stuff. Kicking from first phase and running from second, the home team's rugby pattern was set. There were signs last week, that any mistake from the Cardiff team and the Scots poured through to capitalize and it wasn't long before Cardiff provided them with an opening score. A bullet pass from the Whippet at Rhys' head caused a spillage and the Scots poured through to score.

Some good recycling and timing out wide and more penalties and within as many minutes Cardiff were 15-0 down. Choosing a kicking game (with a weakened lineout) gifted too much ball to the Scots, but with a rare attack into the Scottish 22, Henry slipped through in the corner - ducking under the cover tacklers.

Despite a lacklustre and passionless performance from the pack and a try gifted courtesy of Harris, Cardiff were somehow only 18-8 down at half time. The game was still there for the taking.

The second half performance showed some improvement with at least some players prepared to put some pace onto the ball, but the support for the ball carrier was very poor. A lack of support runners meant rushed passes and a lack of driving ruckers led to more turnovers and more penalties.

Shortly after the break, Glasgow scored a good try after a number of phases of good recycling at the ruck - this time out wide on the left. Cardiff's back line class kept them in the game with 9 to 15 (with the exception of 14) looking likely to score at any time from anywhere on the field. The Glasgow approach was more measured and more structured - phased attacks, aggressive rucking, drive up the middle and spread it wide on the third or fourth phase. All text book stuff.

However, it was a Cardiff player who produced the play of the game. Rhys took a speculative kick from outside his 22 and sprinted through and around the statuesque defence to score a wonderful 60m try. Magic - pure class!

But with a stream of penalties awarded at regular intervals, Glasgow were able to stay that elusive two scores ahead throughout the game. Cardiff were trying to force things and Iestyn threw another Tommy Hayeseque pass behind Fester. The Scots raced onto the chance and another try from a Cardiff error resulted. As the home team tired from their efforts, the spaces opened up and the Cardiff backs suddenly found more space to run into. Iestyn worked his magic, and Muller scored an excellent try under the posts, shortly followed by another from the Whippet himself as he ghosted through untouched - much as he did last week. Fittingly, the game needed with another homer penalty and a Hayes kick.

The locals felt they had reaped revenge, but with an even try count, Cardiff were left to wonder how they conceded so many penalties.

Replacing Jones with Kacala on the hour at least game Cardiff another ball carrier, but with the lineout a shambles from the off, you've got to wonder why he didn't start with Kacala (who incidentally as been in Poland all week - that's goo preparation for one of Cardiff's key games of the season!). With the Pole on the pitch, Humph changed his banjo and found him three times at the rear of the lineout.

Joubert threw on Andrew Lewis and the Perm for Humph and Mr Motivator, but they failed to make the necessary impact. Mounier belatedly replaced the non-existant Appleyard, but as wholehearted a performer as he is, he looks to be struggling at this level. It would have been better to give the rapidly improving McShane a game. Replacing Robinson with Allen seemed all so pointless with minutes to go as the coach reverted to coaching by numbers.

Joubert does not need to look far into why we lost this game. Cardiff gifted three tries to Glasgow - two wild passes from the Whippet and a dropped catch from the Usher - and a host of penalties courtesy of De McSporan.

So where do we go from here? Three observations spring to mind.

1. Mentally, Cardiff are clearly poorly prepared for these games. But more importantly, practically they seem to be poorly prepared. The players traveled to Glasgow on the Saturday flying from Birmingham? Eh? Birmingham? Almost immediately following the final whistle they fled to the airport for the 1945 to Birmingham (choosing not to fly on the 1930 to Cardiff). Rita still had his shorts on at the airport! The first way to prepare for victory is to give players time to approach things in a professional way. At the moment, Cardiff fly to away games, and play their matches on the way to the airport!

2. At Glasgow, they seemed to have a different game plan from the one that served them well in Cardiff. Why? Is Henry interfering again? Is Joubert being allowed to coach his team? There is simply too much interference at Cardiff - still.

3. Squad preparation, player selection and preparation has been poor. Delays in the appointment of a replacement for Yoda meant that Adam Jones was inherited by Joubert - not chosen by him. A shambolic preparation of the squad meant that Kacala was selected and is barely available to practice (and has even not been available for some matches). At least two players were selected for the European Squad who are not fit enough to play. Why? Voyle was allowed to go to Newport when still under contract to Cardiff. Why? An assault on our key(only?) lineout jumper was allowed to go uncited by the club. Why?

There is still an outside chance that Cardiff can qualify from this group, but it will take Glasgow to defeat Montferrand in France - almost impossible. Qualifying as runners up is unlikely, as we did not draw an Italian team in our group.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
7
/10
Superb solo try - one of the best you'll ever see. Terrible knock on and duff touch kick. One dropped kick led to a Scottish try. Put in some excellent try saving tackles but didn't come into the line outside Jamie Robinson once during the game.
14
Andrew Henry
7
/10
Mr 100%. Canceled out Steel - the much touted Scottish international. Took his try well, but needs to be more inventive on beating his opposite man - use those grubber kicks Andrew!
13
Jamie Robinson
7
/10
Top class defence, good guts in the maul and ruck and not afraid to put his body on the line for the cause. Threw the worst pass of all time during the game - right in front of the watching Henry.
12
Pieter Muller
6
/10
Missed tackles in a game wrecked with inconsistencies. Flung the ball wildly in contact areas but still managed a good second half.
11
Anthony Sullivan
7
/10
Went looking for work and made Henry's try. Now improving rapidly each week (internationals approaching?). Solid defence with good angles of running. Didn't get the ball in space to make an impact.
10
Iestyn Harris
5
/10
Lack of effort from the kick off. Coasted through the game. Needless kicking from the start - from the first three good phases (overcoached by Joubert?) when the simple give a dummy and go was called for! Missed tackles. Playing for the Argentina game when once more interfering Henry gave him the nod before the kick off. "Get through this game uninjured and you're in." As a result, our club suffers - just as with our half backs against Gloucester last season. At fault for at least two tries with wildly inaccurate and preprogrammed passing. Created an excellent try for Muller and scored another beauty. Has already caught the Cardiff disease - play away from home and make no effort.
9
Robert Howley
7
/10
Made some good breaks and tried to keep the game flowing at pace. With only one and a half players in the back row he was always going to struggle with a lack of support. Some poor passes. Pointless box kicks (coach?) are now just gifting the ball to the opposition - variety is the spice of life and that's what breaks defences down - doing the unexpected.
8
Emyr Lewis
7
/10
Good ball carries but no support. Made some good tackles.
7
Semo Sititi
6
/10
Good work with ball in hand and made some excellent tackles in open play. Joubert needs his head seen to if he thinks this man is a blind side flanker and Appleyard is an openside.
6
Rob Appleyard
3
/10
Looks burnt out. Injured? Ill?No ball carries, no big tackles, no show. Didn't even knock the ball on 'cos he didn't get a pass. May as well pick McShane on the blind side and Setiti openside. If Joubert insists on picking Sititi at blind side, then give RST a game. No recycling, no support of the ball carrier.
5
Adam Jones
4
/10
Is Keith Stewart without the lineout skills. Plenty of industry, but not too much skill. Still, young enough to improve if he keeps up with this work rate. Potential? Not evident, yet.
4
Craig Quinnell
9
/10
Mr Maximum effort. Chasing lost causes throughout the game. Always totally competitive in the tight as well as open play. Good lineout work when they realised Jones was not up to the cause. Good ball carries. Tackled and rucked aggressively. Top performer. We'd say he should be a cert for the autumn internationals, but as we know, Henry selects on reputation and not on form.
3
Dai Young
4
/10
Scrum was solid. Stood at the back of the lineout too often throughout the game - coaching? Now has the turning cycle of the Arc Royal. Cardiff are crying out for a pack leader to motivate away from home - clearly this man is incapable of doing it. Give the captaincy to Quinnell!!!!!
2
Jon Humphreys
4
/10
Looked like yesterday's man. No pace and no banjo. Consistently threw the ball over Jones' head to the waiting Glasgow defenders.
1
Spencer John
6
/10
Looked interested on the charge but support play was lethargic - no aggressive rucking and mauling (like the rest of the front row).