Rugby Union: Rayer's bad break adds to woes of the Welsh: Cardiff win but join in national distress

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The Independent Online
Treorchy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Cardiff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 IT NEVER rains, it merely pours in Wales. Two weeks after the Welsh captain, Ieuan Evans, broke his left leg, the Five Nations champions lost Mike Rayer, the Cardiff full-back, with a double fracture of his right leg.

Rayer's unlucky break came 12 minutes after he had levelled the scores with a penalty and just two minutes from time at a packed Treorchy Oval. It took eight minutes to remove the player from the pitch and he underwent surgery on his leg yesterday morning.

While Evans is hopeful of being able to train within three months, it seems likely that Rayer will have to wait even longer because of the severity of the injury. As far as Welsh rugby is concerned, given even that in Tony Clement they have a world-class replacement, this latest blow is a disaster.

So many moves for club and country are centred around Rayer, a ferocious competitor who inpsires confidence in everyone around him. In the space of six months, the Welsh coach, Alan Davies, has lost the best wing and full-back in the Northern Hemisphere through injury and seen Scott Gibbs and Scott Quinnell switch to rugby league. That represents more than a quarter of his side for next year's World Cup finals in South Africa, although he must still be hoping that Evans and Rayer can make it back in time to play next June.

Of more immediate concern to Rayer, however, will be his new job. Having been out of work for two months, he was due to have his final assessment today after two weeks' training to become a petrol filling station manager.

He is due to take up a post in Cardiff on 28 October, but, faced with the prospect of being in plaster for six to eight weeks, he will have to rely on the goodwill of his employers to make ends meet.

While Rayer was being taken to hospital, Adrian Davies dropped the goal on Saturday that won the points for Cardiff in the sixth minute of injury time.

There were no hoorahs, the injury to Rayer having knocked the stuffing out of all the players.

Cardiff's two first-half tries should have put them on course for a much easier triumph, but they lost interest for 30 minutes and, having led 12-3 midway through the first half, they found themselves 15-12 behind midway through the second.

Treorchy: Penalties D Evans 3, L Evans 2. Cardiff: Tries Moore, Budd; Conversion Rayer; Penalty Rayer; Drop goal Davies.

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, O Lloyd (J Burnell, 35), L Jones (capt).

Cardiff: M Rayer (A Booth, 78); S Hill (C John, 5), C Laity, M Hall (capt), 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 (Swansea).

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