Rugby Union: Bad break for Rayer

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The Independent Online
Treorchy. .15

Cardiff. . 18

THE WELSH jinx continued when Mike Rayer, the national side's full-back, was seriously injured five minutes from full time in this fiercely competitive league game. He had pulled off a dummy scissors with Nigel Walker and had broken the first tackle, but the second tackle broke his right tibia, and probably put paid to his international season. The blow comes exactly a week before Cardiff play the Springboks, and six weeks before Wales play the tourists.

On a perfect day, a large crowd had assembled at the Treorchy Oval to see the Johnny-come-latelys from the Rhondda Valley defend their amazing record of being unbeaten at home in 18 matches in league rugby.

They lost that proud record yesterday in the sixth minute of injury time when Adrian Davies dropped a decisive goal when the score was 15-15. On this evidence, Treorchy, who call themselves the Rhondda Zebras, will continue to give the more established and glamorous clubs some sleepless nights, if not a nightmare or two.

Treorchy were always against the collar, however, in the line-outs against the 6ft 10in Derwyn Jones and Stuart Roy, who dominated affairs, but for all their supremacy, Cardiff were slower to the loose ball than the Zebras.

Cardiff's main virtue is their sheer bulk and perseverance, but they may have to be more imaginative if they wish to continue their leadership of the league. Cardiff took an early lead with a magnificent try by Andy Moore, who looped with his No 8 to run through for a beautifully taken score. It took Treorchy 16 minutes to get into the Cardiff half, and they were rewarded with a penalty goal by Luc Evans. However, Cardiff increased their lead when they released Nigel Walker on the left, who kicked ahead for Adrian Davies to pick up and pass inside to Mike Budd who scored. Rayer converted. Two more penalty goals by David Evans for Treorchy made it 12-9 at half-time.

Another penalty by David Evans levelled the score and then in the last quarter a penalty by Luc Evans gave Treorchy the lead. Mike Rayer then levelled again for Cardiff with a penalty before receiving his dreadful injury, and in injury time came the Davies drop goal that won the match for Cardiff, giving them two league points that may prove crucial come the season's end.

Treorchy: L Evans; D Hughes, A Jones, L Davies, A Lewis; D Evans, C Bridges; A Dibble, L Gilby, M Powell, A Collins, A Gwilym, G Owen, L Jones (capt), O Lloyd.

Cardiff: M Rayer; S Hill, M Hall (capt), C Laity, N Walker; A Davies, A Moore; M Griffiths, J Humphreys, L Mustoe, S Roy, D Jones, M Bennett, H Stone, M Budd.

Referee: C Thomas (WRU).