Glasgow

k.o. time: 7:35 pm

6 September, 2013

Scotstoun

Spectators: 5,052

Cardiff Blues
referee
Dudley Phillips
3
/10

Look at me! Look at me! I'm on TV!

weather
Wetter than a haggis drowning in a vat of whisky
worth annoying the wife factor
1
/10
our man of the match
Rhys Patchell
scorers
Rhys Patchell (4)
Rhys Patchell (1)
our choice for next week

vs Connacht

k.o. time: 7:05 pm

13 September, 2013

Cardiff Arms Park

15
Tom Williams
14
Alex Cuthbert
13
Owen Williams
12
Dafydd Hewitt
11
Harry Robinson
10
Rhys Patchell
9
Lloyd Williams
8
Robin Copeland
7
Josh Navidi
6
Andries Pretorius
5
Filo Paulo
4
Bradley Davies
3
Scott Andrews
2
Matthew Rees
1
Taufa'ao Filise

A soggy start to the season saw a young Cardiff team go down by seven points in a game that neither team seemed too keen on winning. Cardiff left Glasgow thinking of what might have been, with two yellow cards critical in ensuring the home team held the upper hand.

Early season sloppiness from Copeland gifted the initiative to the home team as he who took the ball into touch from a nice box kick from Glasgow scrum half. Rees was penalised for sealing off, and within a minute and a half Deadly Dudley's inconsistencies came to the fore. This was no different from the Scots’ first ruck, but such are the difficulties of playing away from home.

In driving rain the Scott Wight took the three points from 40m out, centre field. Deadly Dudley then followed up with another soft and meaningless ruck penalty which Patchell slotted with ease. There seemed to be a good intensity to the players and a great catch and offload from Czekaj sent the attack in motion. From scrappy, poor catching skills from Henry Pyrgos, Cardiff poured through and only the intervention of the post stopped the chance of a soft try.

Now the game was all about the aerial ping pong, with both teams hoofing the ball in the air and hoping the opposition stuffed up. Neither team seemed too interested in keeping the ball in hand. With Deadly Dudley ready to dish out the penalties, Chris Fusaro was pulled up for offside. Bewildering. Patchell made it 3-6 from the half way line with an excellent kick.

Glasgow soon stuffed up again with a poor kick off going directly to touch and Cardiff were winning the error count. With the Glasgow front row on their bellies after two resets of the scrum, Deadly Dudley somehow came up with a penalty for the home team and a let off. Random penalties meant neither side could generate any momentum.

Another kick from the halfway, and the scores were level. But the entire focus of the game was to whom Deadly Dudley would offer the next penalty. A nice catch from Copeland on the touch line from yet another box kick and it was Cardiff who were running the ball. But Patchell kicked the ball dead from a poor attempted kick to the corner that was someway off target. Unforced errors and tombola refereeing made for a poor spectacle.

Ball in field play time was low as the kicks kept coming. Good work from Rees and put Cook away for a gallop down the centre and Lloyd continued the probing around the fringes. Deadly Dudley went to the TMO to look for foul play as the game stuttered and lacked any sort of flow. TV viewers, meanwhile, don’t get to see the reply, so it’s just a lot of standing around. Poor entertainment. As if to compound the amateurism, there’s no big screen for the crowd to see what’s happening and no sense of atmosphere or tension. It's just yet another pain in the @rse stoppage.

And after all this faffing about, Patchell proceeded to miss the kick from out of the right 30m out.

More kick and even less clap followed. Paint dries more entertainingly. Scottish back play remains an abomination. With both teams content to roll the dice and wait for Deadly Dudley's inevitable intervention, both teams spent their time kicking the ball away instead of trying to play any rugby.

If fortune favoures the brave, both teams were a bunch of cowards.

Deadly Dudley stopped play with injuries on the other side of the pitch, but kept the game going when the trainer was an extra player in the defensive line. A dreadful clearance kick from Glasgow went straight to touch as Owain Williams tried to move the ball out fo contact. At last Cardiff tried to play some rugby, with good angles of running in the back line.

However, Dudley wasn't making sufficient effort to keep the game flowing and was far too lenient in allowing tacklers to linger in the way following a tackl. Kick and chase continued, occasionally interspersed with sporadic poor passing and another “attack” petered out.

The rain was coming in torrents and with so many kicks to the corner the shear law of averages meant at least one good kick would eventually emerge. Filo failed to gather a Rees throw that only got as far as his midriff as another unforced error halted any chance of concerted pressure.

Lamont made a break down the field instead of using the overlap Scott Wight (and with all this rain, we couldn't help but wonder at that particular tautology) again hoofed the ball to touch. Czekaj cleared as a flurry of slurry kicks kept on raining down. Glasgow piled over the top and Deadly Dudley at last decided to show some interest in the breakdown.

An interesting chip over the top from Patchell went nowhere, but sure enough those Scottish backs could be relied upon to spill the ball. Patchell was chasing hard and although the back row were there following up, there wasn’t enough pressure from the other 11. Lazy stuff all round.

Then really dumb unprofessional play from Owain Williams turned the game in the favour of the home side. He flicked his leg out to trip Murchie - the Glasgow full back – almost Cantona-esque. Quite what he hoped to gain with this brain fart only he knows. There was no niggle in the game, and no edge. It was just plain dumb. Not only did he gift Glasgow 3 points, he put his team mates under pressure with the inevitable yellow card that followed.

Fine him his match fee, Phil.

The ping pong continued and Copeland dropped a sitter as momentum swung in favour of the home side. With a player advantage would they change their tactics? Somehow with the Glasgow loose head losing his binding and ending up on his back, Deadly Dudley decided to penalise the away team. Rees did his best to try to understand, but Dudley wasn’t interested.

And still the kicks came - more kicking that even Michael Flatley would tolerate. Deadly Dudley found another penalty, but a poor attempt from Wight let Cardiff off the hook. Meanwhile, the Glasgow backs continued to be a danger – mostly to themselves but also to those with weak bladders. When they tried to move the ball the error count went stratospheric. Jerry Yanuyanutawa - the Glasow loose head - spent most of his time in one knee. Deadly Dudley has no idea.

With the scrum swinging to the left, Copeland chose to charge to the right and was of course isolated. Then more ill-disiplined, dumb play in front of the ref with Copeland compounding his mistake with handling the ball on the floor. 12-6 at half time with six points conceded when Williams was off the field. Cardiff were their own ill-disciplined, worst enemies.

The second half trundled into action with some typical Scottish back play: Lateral running, poor passing and obstruction quickly marred Glasgow’s first attack. A curious interpretation of the offside line ruined a perfectly acceptable rolling maul from Cardiff as typical early-season error ridden rugby did little to lift the spirits of the soaked spectators.

With so much surface water around, despite a faultess pitch, the error count increased as players lost their footing and handling skills left more than a little to be desired. Hewitt came on for Evans after 46 minutes for no discernable reason. But as the half progressed, it was clear that the Scots were more agressive and more fired up at the contact area.

A largely rudderless and leaderless Cardiff side huffed and puffed as individuals, but lacked the cohesive team work to up their play when the game dictated.

The away team's lineout was descending into a scrappy battle for poor ball and a very flat backline struggled to put any pace into the attack. Ball carriers hit the gain line hard, but couldn’t break tackles and everything looked all so predictable. That was until Owen Williams came on a great angle and tore into the Scottish 22. Unfortuantely, the accuracy just wasn't quite there from Lloyd Williams and the attack came to nought.

From a collapsed scrum, Patchell closed the gap to three with an effortless kick from the left. Cardiff continued to hammer away with the one-up-and-charge stuff with little signs of penetration and both sides seemed to rely on the ref to come up with a penalty to break up the pattern of play. Yet another penalty came from a poor attempt to catch a high ball and some indisciplined play from Glasgow gave Patchell a straight forward three porints from 40 metres out.

Neither team seemed able to guarantee lineout ball, but that didn’t seem to stop the touch-finders. Luke Hamilton came on just before the hour mark, and as Cardiff opted for the tight pod-attack with forwards charging close to the breakdown, the Scots tried favoured the “tactical” hoof down field. With the scores level at 12-12 on the hour mark, the game was still there for either team. Cardiff’s passive approach in defence yielded an inevitable penalty and lazy play from Filise should have gifted Glasgow another three points. Fortunatately for the Tongan, a straightforward three points was missed.

With little creativity on show, this game always looked like it would be decided either by errors or by the referee’s whistle. The pack seemed to be going through the motions rather than playing with any cohesive agression – working when they had to, but not looking too hard for work. They were content to watch the battle of the boot in the back line. Bradley was trying to rally his troops, but they were still too loose and too upright in the tight.

From slow ball centre field, Patchell showed his class and took a snap drop goal with the rain at his face. Despite his youth, it’s clear there’s some real potential there. So with 15 minutes left, Cardiff were up 12-15 and seemingly getting on top. The Scots had little to offer other than long kicks and the hope of unforced errors. But then out of nothing at all, a great pick up from Tommy Seymour, a terrible attempt at a tackle from Cook and a real usher-job from Tom Williams at full back and Seymour raced through to score against the run of play. An excellent conversion from the touchline added insult to injury as Glasgow took the lead once more.

But the Scots weren't finished, but fortunately for Cardiff, more shocking passing in the Glasgow line meant another try went begging.

Confidence is an amazing thing in sport, and clearly Glasgow had more of it. Despite Patchell’s outstanding skills, it's clear there was a lack of belief from this team mates that they could come away with a victory. Now the Scots' tails were up and somehow the ref contrived to ensure a Glasgow win with yet another yellow card against the away team. Cook got himself yellow carded for something only the ref saw. That ended the game as a contest as within a matter of minutes, Glasgow had scored 10 unanswered points and yet again faced 14 men. Very, very poor stuff from the ref.

Still only seven points behind, a mentally stronger team would still believe they could win, but Cardiff heads were down. Greater urgency and physicality from the home team made up for poor skill levels and execution. As for Cardiff, a crucial attacking lineout 5m from the line saw Rees throw to someone only he saw. It was a shocking unforced error from an experienced player who should have been galvanising what is still a relatively young team.

But with Glasgow being equally as generous with unforced errors, Bradley took a quick penalty a few metres from the line and it took four Glasgow players to hold Lloyd Williams up.

In yet another rediculous show of unnecesary intervention, Deadly Dudley somehow contrieved to even up the numbers with a random yellow card against Richie Vernon. Of all the people of the pitch, the ref was determined that he was going to play the biggest part in deciding the victor.

Good work from Scott Andrews at the scrum forced another collapse and the penalties were coming thick and fast. Could Cardiff get that crucial try to even the scores? Leave it to Dudley! With the visitors driving the Scots back in the scrum, he somehow contrived to penalise Filise for collapsing. Now on what planet would the loose head want to do that? His team were pressing for a push over!

Time was now running out and once more Cardiff’s shambolic lineout failed and Glasgow were able to clear their lines. The throw was too low which allowed the opposition to jump and pressure, and the timing wass so poor that even a throw to two in the lineout wasn’t a banker.

With some relief, the game ended on a damp note - appropriately.

This was a game blighted by numerous unforced errors from two poor teams and an over exuberant referee who managed to dish out three yellow card in a game largely devoid of foul or negative play. Dudley Phillips clearly sees his role as to impose his authority on the game, instead of one that facilities and helps players approach the game in a positive way.

This was scrappy, sodden, pre-season tosh. One to forget. In a one game that either side could have one, the home side played with more belief and determination. The away side looked like they would cough up a major error at any time and throw the game away. The kids look very geographically challenged.

15
Tom Williams
5
/10
Some flakey “defence” on Tommy Seymour’s try.
14
Harry Robinson
1
/10
Anonymous. In a game plan that focuses on forwards carrying close to the breakdwon, Robinson sat on the wing and didn’t go looking for work. Good for sevens, an umbrella would be of more use on a raining night in Glasgow.
13
Owen Williams
4
/10
A shining light in an insipid and aneamic back line. Williams’ creative angles of running bode well for the future. However, he blotted his copybook badly with a ultra-dumb trip and yellow card in the first half.
12
Gavin Evans
3
/10
Anonymous. Someone of his experience really should be more of a leader in a team of kids. Against a limited backline that coughed up error after error, he failed to lead his troops with belief and determination.
11
Chris Czekaj
3
/10
Ditto. Someone of his experience needs to go looking for work.
10
Rhys Patchell
8
/10
A class act – excellent kicking skills and reading of the game. There’s clearly a lack of cohesion with Brynmor’s boy, but that will come.
9
Lloyd Williams
5
/10
Busy, without being effective. When the chances were there, he couldn’t muster his troops to convert them.
8
Robin Copeland
5
/10
Dreadul play in the first half cost his side heavily. Three times he blew it as yet another experienced player in the squad failed to step up.
7
Josh Navidi
5
/10
Average, but lightweight. Needs a lot more power to have an impact.
6
Macauley Cook
2
/10
Oh dear. Dreadful defence for Tommy Seymour’s try and then got himself yellow carded (dunno what for, mind you). One to forget. Should be made to stay home alone.
5
Filo Paulo
2
/10
Who?
4
Bradley Davies
5
/10
Showed more leadership skills than Rees, but his body angle into contact is now so high he’s an easy target to attack.
3
Scott Andrews
6
/10
Solid in the scrum and a great engine in the loose.
2
Matthew Rees
4
/10
Some really poor lineout throwing on show – particlarly in the red zone and at the crucial end of the game.
1
Taufa'ao Filise
4
/10
Pretty much a passenger. The ball-carrying, buldozing, tackle-breaking runs are a thing of the past.