Benetton

k.o. time: 7:05 pm

20 February, 2015

Stadio Monigo

Spectators: 2,670

Cardiff Blues
referee
Gary Conway
5
/10
He did well to ignore the TMO when reviewing the Thomas try. He tried to keep the game flowing and was consistent in penalising Cardiff flopping.
our man of the match
Rhys Patchell
general comment

The final nail in the coffin. Just dreadful

scorers
Lloyd Williams (1)
Josh Navidi (1)
Adam Thomas (1)
Rhys Patchell (3)
Rhys Patchell (1)
Sometimes in sport the bounce of the ball goes your way. Sometimes your team is invincible. Sometimes it plays really badly yet still pulls off victories that were completely unworthy. But there’s the flip side to that where, sometimes in sport, the stars align for a car crash of an omnishambles that you know is coming and cannot be averted.\r\n\r\nNews broke on Tuesday of Director of Rugby, Mark Hammett, having a family requirement to return to New Zealand and we all wish him well for that. Complications then arise regarding his departure and alleged player unrest with his coaching methods. The stars were finalized with Anscombe pulling out in the afternoon of the match and the anticipated disaster quickly unfolded as soon as the game began. \r\n\r\nThe underlying weakness of the defensive structure has never been fixed under Hammett. Dale McIntosh’s record as defensive coach is worse than that of his predecessor and the structure completely collapsed in this game. After a bright five minutes of, at last, playing pick and drive rugby, Cardiff were 15-0 down in as many minutes. Two defensive lapses, schoolboy-esque in their naivety, allowed easy tries to be scored and the major weakness was Adam Thomas’ defending at 12. Clearly, the Treviso coaching staff have been looking at videos of Cardiff games as this weakness is hardly a secret.\r\n\r\nThe tries were flowing in a game of Barbarians-Super XV style where defence was irrelevant. Treviso had worked out that it didn’t really matter if Cardiff scored as they would always leak further tries. In fact, Treviso gifted Cardiff their first try when a scrum half clearance kick rebounded off the backside of a home team prop and Lloyd Williams gathered to score. In a normal game, that would be a moment of hilarity but that prop was almost Cardiff’s most creative player. \r\n\r\nThroughout the shambles that followed, a number of players really did their best to make a silk purse out of their teammates. Patchell, God bless him, is clearly trying to evoke the Spirit of Ringo in breaking defences on his own. Navidi battles manfully, Lloyd Williams tried to maintain a tempo. \r\n\r\nSoon, the Italian TMO decided to rub as much salt into the wounds as he possibly could as he awarded a try based on the “is there a reason why I cannot award a try” question from the Referee. Well, the reason was that you couldn’t see the ball being placed down but that didn’t seem to matter to Mr Damasco. \r\n\r\nTreviso are a poor team, we shouldn’t forget that, and they are so poor that they still allowed Cardiff to be in this game. It was Patchell who soon created for Navidi to score the try and it was Patchell who was keeping Cardiff active on the scoreboard. Tuculet was a danger from full back and Patchell was kicking well but the rest were bystanders. \r\n\r\nThere were also bystanders in defence by allowing Hayward to get the bonus point try for the home team BEFORE half time. That’s how bad it was. It was 27 – 17 at half time and it could have been more. The defensive system had collapsed, individuals were falling off tackles or not even making the effort to cover space. It was a car crash, horrific viewing, embarrassing and should have resulted in a half time team talk that bordered on threatening the contract terms of many of the players. \r\n\r\nLet’s remember, at this point the team is 27-17 down at half time away in Treviso. If there is any remote note of truth in the players being unhappy with their workload, each one of them should look closely at themselves after that shambolic performance. \r\n\r\nThe optimism of being a supporter fools you into thinking that the second half would be better. “It’ll be ok” you think / hope / kid yourself. And, if the truth be told, Treviso were so bad that they could have ended up losing the game in the last ten minutes but that’s not quite how the opening minutes of the half played out.\r\n\r\n67 seconds in to the second half, Treviso scored their fifth try after waltzing through another McIntosh – sized hole in the Cardiff defence. 67 seconds. That case for working too hard seems to be diminishing as each second goes by, boys……\r\n\r\nAgain, it fell to Patchell to create the Cardiff points as he fairly challenged for his own up and under, resulting in the loose ball spilling to Dacey who fed Thomas to run in nigh on unopposed. It was 37 – 24 now and that hope / optimism / foolishness was kicking back in. \r\n\r\nThere was 30 minutes to go, Isaacs had moved to the wing and was looking useful with the ball in hand. Scoring two tries in 30 minutes should have been easy, right? Wrong. \r\n\r\nThrough a series of players lacking composure, through Patchell trying desperately to do everything himself (who can blame him?) and through a series of substitutions that did nothing other than hinder any kind of cohesion, the game petered out into just greater levels of farce. A note must be given to Vosawai who tried his heart out when he arrived. He was the go to player, he gave go forward and played like a proper number 8. \r\n\r\nYou could sum up this game by reviewing any number of phases of play when Treviso had the ball. Cardiff couldn\'t even form a defensive line whereby the slower player would line up inside the faster player. It was dog legged, it was badly formed.\r\n\r\nIf this is the final game for Hammett then it seems that he lost. He tried, but failed. The players and sub coaches won.\r\n\r\nAnd the result of that victory is losing to Treviso. Well done, boys.
15
Joaquin Tuculet
14
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
13
Tom Isaacs
12
Adam Thomas
11
Owen Jenkins
10
Rhys Patchell
9
Lloyd Williams
8
Josh Navidi
7
Ellis Jenkins
6
Josh Turnbull
5
Filo Paulo
4
Macauley Cook
3
Adam Bomber Jones
2
Kristian Dacey
1
Taufa'ao Filise