Cardiff

k.o. time: 7:30 pm

16 January, 2015

BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 4,733

Rovigo
referee
Ian Tempest
6
/10
He kept to his minimum standards and allowed the game to flow.
worth annoying the wife factor
7
/10
our man of the match
Ellis Jenkins
general comment

A complete mismatch but it was good to see the players smiling and putting in a top effort right to the end.

scorers
Lloyd Williams (2)
Josh Turnbull (1)
Richard Smith (3)
Rhys Patchell (1)
Sam Hobbs (1)
Ellis Jenkins (2)
Cory Allen (1)
Macauley Cook (1)
Scott Andrews (1)
Kristian Dacey (1)
Gareth Davies (1)
Gareth Anscombe (6)
Gareth Davies (5)
our choice for next week

vs Grenoble

k.o. time: 3:00 pm

24 January, 2015

Stade des Alpes

15
Dan Fish
14
Alex Cuthbert
13
Cory Allen
12
Rhys Patchell
11
Richard Smith
10
Gareth Anscombe
9
Lloyd Williams
8
Josh Navidi
7
Sam Warburton
6
Ellis Jenkins
5
Josh Turnbull
4
Macauley Cook
3
Craig Mitchell
2
Matthew Rees
1
Gethin Jenkins
There is little to take from a game like this other than the enjoyment the players obviously got from the game, the effort levels they kept throughout the game and the obvious determination in the last ten minutes to see if the scoreboard would go to three figures. They didn't quite manage to beat the Plymouth Albion score but let's hope that this isn't followed up next week in a similar manner to that Albion game...... The talk pre-match was about how Anscombe and Patchell would go together, along with how Patchell would take "being shunted" to full back. Of course there are huge caveats regarding judging the pairing by this opposition, but the theory of their togetherness shone throughout the first half before Anscombe took up pipe and slippers at the break. So, in summary, regardless of their jersey numbers, they linked together brilliantly. It's almost as though they lined up like left and right centres in rugby league, but even that's a poor analogy, in that both showed up at first receiver which allowed the other one to direct play further out wide. Both hit each other with fantastic passing and this allowed the ball to be moved far too quickly for Rovigo to keep up with. Yes, Rovigo aren't the yardstick, but the standard of linking between the two players was excellent. Patchell really looks able to play anywhere in the back line with equal ability and impact. He is an excellent rugby player who is comfortable with the ball in hand, comfortable taking it into contact and comfortable with the physical elements of full back play. He didn't kick too much in this game, which may be a sign of taking his comeback game a little easier than necessary, but all of his other skills were on show. Anscombe seemingly lacks the pace and physical stature of Patchell which is why Hammett may prefer him to start at outside half. That's not to say he's the better 10, but Patchell is better out wide. Anscombe is a stepper, can beautifully delay a pass and deliver a ball into space, and these may see him kept at 10. It's not that Patchell can't do all of that equally well, but to fit both of them in will likely see Anscombe preferred at 10. What we would like to see, of course, is GA at 10 and RP at 12. As for the rest of the game it was, for all intents and purposes, a shambles. The club had only bought enough fireworks for three tries so these were all gone after 17 minutes when Smith had run in his first. By half time the score was 54-0 and this was despite a bloody good effort from Rovigo. They put good pace on the ball in attack, varied the point of attack and played some pretty stuff. Ultimately, though, it was like watching a Welsh Premiership team in that they lacked the necessary physicality. The tries continued to come all game and, to their fairness, Rovigo scored a couple of crackers - one from Cardiff's eternal Achilles Heel of a driving line out and one from a 100 yard interception of a Lewis Jones pass. Only Jones could come on to the pitch and look not even good enough for the opposition. At this point, a note must be made for Allen who chased down the interceptor right on the try line but the resulting play still saw the try scored. The only positive at the end of the game, with Gareth Davies' goal kicking being a real negative, was the players' desire to get to the three figure mark which they achieved with the last play of the game (ironically by Jones). They could easily have settled for a far lower score so it was great to see their efforts and to see them playing with a collective smile on their faces.
15
Rhys Patchell
8
/10
He wore 15 on his shirt but played pretty much all along the back line in attack. He worked brilliantly with Anscombe with each changing position, each showing up at first receiver and each showing brilliant passing abilities. If Hammett can merge the two into the same team then it looks promising.
14
Richard Smith
7
/10
Most of the first half play went his way and he used his size well to run in a couple of tries. He's a good team player and it is good to see him committed to the club for another couple of years.
13
Cory Allen
0
/10
The outside break and speed in the wing channel is clearly what Hammett sees in him, hence playing him at 13, and games like this only add to that error. Allen's chase down of the 95 metre intercept shows his pace and endurance, but it was the effort to get there that shows his team ethic.
12
Adam Thomas
5
/10
Another passenger who the game mostly passed by but he did seem to look more comfortable at full back. God knows what is his best position, however.
11
Geraint Walsh
5
/10
Sadly for him the game rarely went his way as he was on the opposite touchline from Smith as he was running in tries for fun. He didn't do anything particularly poorly or well.
10
Gareth Anscombe
8
/10
It was unlikely that he'd have needed a shower after being replaced at half time as his class allowed him to barely break sweat. This was well below his ability level but he directed the team well and linked brilliantly with Patchell. His goal kicking is not yet good enough, however.
9
Lloyd Williams
7
/10
Another game back from injury and he looked sharp, playing at last with his brain instead of his box kick. His early decision to use the dummy from the breakdown was a little overplayed and it didn't really ever keep Rovigo onside, but it was at least the right thing to do to keep Rovigo narrow in defence.
8
Manoa Vosawai
6
/10
Played for most of the game on one leg as his ankle was heavily strapped. This obviously took away his power game but he tried to join in the offload game to keep the ball off the floor.
7
Ellis Jenkins
9
/10
A bloody marvellous exhibition of 7 play in the modern game. From the first two ruck steals (turnover won and penalty won) he seemed to be always within 5 metres of the ball (even when it was in the air). He's an exceptional rugby player who will only get better. He's a mix of Gwyn Jones and Martyn Williams, with the best of both of them in his game.
6
Josh Turnbull
6
/10
Another who enjoyed the obvious physical advantage over the opposition and the desire to keep the ball off the floor, but nothing exceptional was seen and nothing new was learned.
5
Chris Dicomidis
5
/10
A good run out for him after a long injury break so it would be harsh to expect too much from him in this game. And, in fairness, he did nothing to beat any kind of expectation.
4
Scott Andrews
7
/10
Yes, Scott Andrews in the second row. This is not a mistake. His work rate was exceptional not only with carrying but with clearing the tackle area. Sure, he played like a prop but it can only be his scrummaging that can be holding him back from more first team rugby. Maybe a move to hooker / loose head would help him.
3
Taufaao Filise
6
/10
A couple of big carries and more big clear outs but nothing too spectacular.
2
Matthew Rees
6
/10
He really enjoyed taking the ball into contact and looked for work throughout the game. A couple of poor line out throws spoilt the performance but he seemed to enjoy himself with the ball in hand.
1
Sam Hobbs
6
/10
Not really the game for the props to shine but he kept his discipline well in terms of team play and took a try as a reward.