Cardiff

k.o. time: 2:45 pm

31 August, 2002

BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 7,000

Glasgow
referee
Simon McDowell
2
/10
Completely ignorant of any off the ball play. His inability to spot the jersey pulling, tackling men without the ball and other blatant obstructions blanked many Cardiff attacks and did much to nullify the home team's obvious advantage in pace. But where were his touch judges? A couple of knock ons and forward passes were also lost, as was every ruck where the third Glaswegian jumped on the ball to secure possession. The off side play of the Glasgow backs also went unseen. But why can't Cardiff's players wise up and read the refs better? The decision to award Cardiff many penalties toward the end of the game plus a yellow card against Glasgow was pure pantomime! Five penalties in a row and a yellow card for doing nothing different from what had been happening all game owed more to the referee's assessor than the rules of the game. Out of his depth at this level.
weather
warm and sunny, with a dry surface perfect for running rugby
worth annoying the wife factor
5
/10
our man of the match
Nick Walne
scorers
Ryan Powell (1)
Matt Allen (1)
Gethin Rhys Williams (1)
Martyn Williams (1)
Iestyn Harris (3)
Iestyn Harris (3)
our choice for next week

vs Connacht

k.o. time: 6:00 pm

6 September, 2002

Sportsground

15
Craig Morgan
14
Liam Roberts
13
Jamie Robinson
12
Matt Allen
11
Nick Walne
10
Nicky Robinson
9
Ryan Powell
8
Jim Brownrigg
7
Robin Sowden-Taylor
6
Dan Baugh
5
Adam Jones
4
Chris Stamatakis
3
Gary Powell
2
Andrew Lewis
1
Tim Payne

Cardiff slipped to their third defeat in nine games against the Scots in a tightly fought encounter that went right down to the wire. In the hope of history repeating itself many thousands arrived to watch the first competitive game of the season. Sadly terrible organisation with an inability to supply season tickets on time, once more showed our club in a bad light. The queues on Westgate Street were enormous minutes before kick off. Towards the end of the game these queues were repeated as hundreds left the ground early, disappointed and frustrated after a very poor Cardiff performance in which they leaked over 40 points for the first time since Swansea in May 2000.

The tone of the game was soon set as Glasgow were able to create ruck after ruck without Cardiff making so much as an attempt to take the ball. Once the back line had broken over the gain line Cardiff were always on the back foot and the game was made easy for the visitors. After just a few minutes the first real attack of the game saw Glasgow move the ball from the half way line and create rucks from one side of the pitch to the other. The Cardiff defence was stretched so badly that they looked like school boy footballers following the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. A lack of adequate cover was cruelly exposed with Sullivan forced far too far in field in a vain attempt at preventing Glasgow scoring in the corner.

The excellent Tommy Hayes made the touch line conversion look easy.

The selection of Hayes at inside centre should have made Cardiff aware of the visitors' game plan, but Glasgow shocked us all by using Hayes as a passer rather than just an extra kicking option. Despite a serious lack of pace and a prop playing at outside centre, Glasgow made further progress in to the Cardiff half by repetitive rucking and close ball control. Visiting teams have learned that the best way to keep Cardiff's back line out of the game is simply to deny them the ball! The pattern was again emerging as the Glasgow forwards rumbled towards the try line. Ruck after ruck allowed a forward to sneak through a gap and claim the try, despite claims for a knock on or even the clear double movement after the tackle.

The Irish Referee, who seemed to be in charge as part of his A level sport project, awarded the try oblivious to the crowd's protestations - as he was to most other things in the game. With their backs to the wall Cardiff were forced to perform and the response was good as two quick tries followed. A serious of attacks in the Glasgow 22 were becoming fruitless as the forwards were unable to rumble over the line. A lack of width in the back line was also causing problems, despite some excellent passing from Harris and Allen.

Once a penalty was awarded against many of the numerous off side players, Powell took a quick tap penalty and ducked over the line. Good vision and quick thinking. Surely this guy should be playing hooker with his style of play as his pass is about as accurate as one of Banjo McBryde's lineout throws! Harris added to his earlier penalty with a conversion and Cardiff were back in with a shout.

A couple of penalty goals from Hayes kept Glasgow in front, but a couple more misses kept Cardiff in the game.

Then came Cardiff's second try. An excellent blind side break by Nick Walne - beating Hayes for pace - saw Cardiff behind the defence and over the gain line. Allen's supporting run and power saw him over the line despite the best efforts of an excellent last ditch tackle. Harris' conversion seemed to be wide from all in the North Terrace but up went the flags and two points were awarded.

With the scores at 20-20 at half time, Cardiff knew that a good start to the second half was vital and from the first scrum a wonderful team move saw a try for Rhys Williams. It was Williams that took the ball well behind the gain line from another poor Powell delivery and Williams' inside pass led to another burst by Walne through the line at a brilliant angle and past the Glasgow back row. Walne's angle of running took him into the full back and the supporting runners passed on the ball again to Williams who took the ball at pass and scored under the posts.

This was another try scored with first phase ball, as we saw against Bath last week, and without having to ruck Cardiff look an excellent team!

The next Cardiff attack saw the defining moment in the game. A superb counter attack led to an overlap created on Cardiff's right - again by the extremely impressive Walne who was by now having a field day against the kicker and the prop opposite him. He had Sullivan and Rhys Williams outside him with the line at their mercy. As Sullivan drew the last man throwing his hands above his head in a clear indication that the pass should go to Rhys Williams, both Williams and Sullivan were clearly tackled without the ball and the attack broke down as the ball squirted free. How could the officials miss something so blatant? What were they looking at?

What should have been at least a penalty to Cardiff and a Yellow Card for the professional foul offence of tackling the man without the ball, resulted in a penalty to Glasgow against Martyn Williams for handling on the floor. With Cardiff's speedsters in the clear, it was seven points guaranteed which would have seen the home team take a fourteen point lead.

Then, to add insult to injury, Fourie was given a yellow card at the next line out for tackling the lone Glasgow forward. The Irish Kid in charge saw this as collapsing a maul. It was an act which seemed more to do with deliberately ignoring the shouts of the crowd than of ensuring fair play. "How dare you question my judgement! I'm in charge, and to prove it, you're going to lose your prop!"

Of course, Hayes kicked the penalty to make it 27 - 23 and 14 v 15. It should have been 34 - 20 and 15 v 14. With 8 forwards Cardiff would barely have been able to hold the visitors but with seven there was little or no chance.

The Scots moved the ball with as little width as possible in order to guarantee the ruck ball and nullify any danger of giving a turnover to the Cardiff backs in space. The clear ride that Cardiff were giving them made recycling a doddle. Hardly any Cardiff player - with the possible exception of Allen - went for the ball at the tackle point.

Beveridge flopped over from yet another overlap and the conversion from Hayes made the scores 27 - 30 and despite Harris kicking another penalty to draw level, it was all Glasgow.

With the ball totally in their control, Glasgow went on to score two further tries with Dai Young seemingly powerless to do anything. As he watched the Glasgow team steam roller his bois and get into the lead he waited to change his team. Instead of being proactive and speeding up the Cardiff possession flow by replacing Powell with Smith before the hour he waited until Cardiff were chasing the game until making replacements. To replace Harris with the game needing to be chased was ridiculous and the decision to bring Jamie Robinson on at inside centre back fired miserably as his pass was intercepted to put Glasgow well out of reach.

It was like watching Terrance's use of substitutes all over again.

Despite Cardiff breaking the line deep into injury time, Young's replacements had only hindered the team. The try was scored because the Mathematical element to the Irish Sport A Level project, whereby the Referee expertly equalled the number of penalties to each team and even remembered to Yellow Card a Glaswegian to equal that number too. The lack of concentration from Nicky Robinson at the end of the game summed up the stinking attitude to the second half by some members of the Cardiff squad as his missed kick cost Cardiff another bonus point.

Cardiff have serious, serious problems up front. The return of Baugh and John will not be sufficient to stabilise the problems and Young should be concentrating on securing an early release for Senekal rather than chasing second string South African full backs. The scrum problems were not as apparent but it is the defence of the rucks that are letting the team down so badly that the help of Clive Grififths and John Kear is desperately needed again. With the ball, the forwards are not much better as the driving mauls are so slow and the protection of the ball at offensive rucks is woeful.

However, if you give this backline the ball they will score points from anywhere on the pitch at any time.

To concede 44 points at home is very, very embarrassing.

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
7
/10
Looks very exciting every time he has the ball in hand and is counter attacking and kicking very well. He popped up at first receiver at second phase ball and seems to be reading Harris better than most. The impending arrival of the full back from Western Province could mean that Williams will not play more than his requested 20 games per season - so we make it 17 to go! Are Cardiff's season ticket holders getting short changed? We pay his wages, so why can't he play for Cardiff instead of hanging around on the wing in pointless internationals like the one coming up against Romania?
14
Anthony Sullivan
4
/10
Another lack lustre performance with seemingly little effort. One Harris half break in loose play should have seen Sullivan hit the ball at speed but he was too far away to take the pass, having not made the effort to reach Harris. If this is to be the level of play this season then Cardiff will be better suited starting with Liam Roberts. He was too far away from his winger to stop a Glasgow try.
13
Nick Walne
8
/10
An excellent showing at outside centre where his speed on second phase play allowed him to break the line to create a try for Allen. His defence was also excellent despite not much help from his colleagues. In tight play he was left a little light in defence, but one on one tackling is always good. His angle of running allowed Rhys Williams to score an excellent team try. Looked hungrier and more committed than Jamie Robinson in recent times. Let's hope that Young can create the necessary competition for players which ensures we see the best of both players! Rotation? No! Competition? Yes!
12
Matt Allen
8
/10
A good partnership with Walne kept Cardiff in the game during the first half as they attacked well together, resulting in the Allen try. His form early season has been impressive and again he was forced to bail out his forwards by joining rucks and making tackles. Muller will be hard pressed to take his position from him. However, we're not seeing too many wide passes from Allen and if Cardiff are to make the best use of the wingers, he needs to move the ball more.
11
Craig Morgan
6
/10
A fairly quiet game for Morgan with little to do as Cardiff cannot provide the platform to give him an accurate pass. He needs to look for more work and use his hand off and speed entering the line on second phase in the full back position.
10
Iestyn Harris
6
/10
He must be having nightmares as his team mates are completely unaware of his skills. Powell provides him with rubbish ball and only Rhys Williams seems to be able to read his play. He made three half breaks behind the opposition back line but the lack of support for him (where was Martyn Williams?) meant that he had to hold on to the ball. Although Allen is playing well, he does not have the partnership that Muller offers Harris.
9
Ryan Powell
4
/10
An extremely poor delivery making two steps before he passes the ball! With the best scrum half of all time at Cardiff, you'd think that GOE would take some time to give him some one-on-one coaching! Of course, some will see his "tap and go" try and praise him, but his style of play is not suiting Cardiff's game plan and he would be better off at Newport or Pontypridd! Harris does not have a chance when faced with an off side back line and a looped poorly placed pass. With Howley on the pitch, Cardiff would have won this game.
8
Emyr Lewis
6
/10
He does his best on a retreating scrum but he can only put his body on the line so many times. The wrap tackles are also ineffective without support from his forwards, but his lack of pace is becoming more and more obvious. Another injury cut short his game. We just don't get our money's worth from Emyr. When he's around, he plays well, but he's injured more often than Nathan Budget!
7
Martyn Williams
4
/10
Another game where he was totally ineffective at the breakdown and too often AWOL when a back made a break. He's being rucked out of each game because despite being the first Cardiff player to the break down, he lacks the power and physical presence to cope with a slower - more muscle bound - approach. Played at a faster tempo, Martyn may well be your man, but when the opposition go for ruck after ruck after ruck, he's nowhere.
6
Jim Brownrigg
5
/10
Another who shone in the line out but did little else. He's not the type to scramble for the ball on the floor or to rip ball from opposition forwards. The platform his front five are allowing him means that we're not seeing the benefit of him in the back row, so perhaps he should be moved up to the second row? If we're going to see slow paced, muscle bound stuff, Appleyard's good enough!
5
John Tait
6
/10
A very quiet return to Cardiff colours saw him substituted into the second half. A couple of good takes in the line out but little else was coming from the newly wed. The partnership he enjoyed with Fester that allowed him to play the looser game he enjoys will not be there this season and it must be that the arrival of Senekal cannot come soon enough for Tait.
4
Chris Stamatakis
6
/10
A hard start to professional rugby in a pack that is struggling to compete with the opposition but at the moment he's breaking his way in quietly if not making the headlines. He needs to get more ball in hand and to do this he must demand the ball from the scrum half and take the pressure off Emyr Lewis and Fourie. Needs to up his work rate.
3
Ken Fourie
7
/10
A little shaky in the scrums but always keen to carry the ball in attack, even if it meant head butting the knee caps of the Glasgow Forwards! If he is to take the ball from the scrum half then he needs to build up more pace and take a flatter pass as opposition back rows will be able to line up the tackle otherwise.
2
Greg Woods
6
/10
An injury after just quarter of an hour saw him replaced by Andrew Lewis.
1
Tim Payne
7
/10
At a couple of scrums Cardiff pushed back their opponents and Payne seemed to be leading the way. His commitment in the loose was marvellous as he tackled as much as he could and generally tried to hit every ruck. With form like this and effort he could have a longer future at the club, but more importantly a huge improvement on Rita.