Williams badgers Leeds to distraction

Cardiff Blues 40 Leeds 13

Cardiff, who got into the Heineken Cup only via a repêchage in Viadana, lost the first half 13-6 and looked in a bit of a mess. A rollocking at half-time - the coach Dai Young has grown accustomed to delivering sermons - resulted in his team scoring four tries and 34 points without reply in the second half. The Arms Park crowd, as subdued as their team before the interval, finally caught the celebratory mood as Cardiff got their campaign off to an encouraging start, complete with a bonus point.

They should not get carried away. It doesn't get much easier than this. Leeds cannot buy a win at any price and yesterday they capitulated again, as downhearted at the end as Cardiff had been at half-time. If it was a game of two halves it also illustrated a tale of two All Blacks.

At least Lomu is joining a club who know how to win, although not yet at any reassuring level of consistency. Now consider the experience of Justin Marshall, one of the great All Blacks scrum-halves. Whatever Leeds are paying him, and it's a lot, he deserves every penny.

During the Lions tour of New Zealand, Marshall was playing with the best team in the world and enjoying every minute of it. Since his move to Yorkshire he has forgotten how to spell success. His last act, in the dying minutes, was to flip out a pass between his legs, close to the Cardiff line. In thought and deed it was too much for a team-mate who dropped the ball.

Marshall trooped off to sympathetic applause from the crowd, having given his all and it was nowhere near enough. Phil Davies, the Leeds coach, has just turned 42 but he probably feels a lot older. Talk about kicking a man when he's down. "Big Phil has played a large part, literally and metaphorically, in the establishment of Leeds as a true fighting force," Robert Norster, the Cardiff chief executive, wrote in the programme.

His words were ringing true when Marshall aid-lifted Leeds into a useful lead. A typical break in midfield created a try for Andre Snyman at the posts midway through the half and when Leeds looked as if they were about to score another, Marshall, who was not in possession, found a massive anchor attached to his leg in the shape of Craig Quinnell. "A professional foul," said Craig's brother Scott, who was commentating for television.

Released from his chains, Marshall dropped a goal from no more than 10 yards and Craig escaped with a lecture. Gordon Ross added a penalty and Leeds were seven points in front. Nicky Robinson, who kicked two penalties in the first half, opened the second with a third before Cardiff cut loose with four tries in 22 minutes.

The first came from Robin Sowden Taylor who squeezed in at the left corner after taking a pass from Martyn Williams. At the time Leeds were down to 14 men. The hooker Rob Rawlinson had gone off with a cut head and by the time his replacement Gordon Bulloch appeared, Cardiff had scored. Shambolic.

Leeds were caught by another sucker punch when Gareth Williams took a quick throw to the front of a line-out, accepted a tap back from Quinnell and scampered 30 yards down the left touchline in the manner of a demented badger.

In a season that is going from bad to worse, Leeds replaced Ross with Roland de Marigny and the new stand-off's first act was to have a kick charged down by Craig Morgan. A couple of smart passes later and the prop John Yapp was touching down.

Cleverly varying their line-out near the Leeds line, the pack coiled up for the pushover: an irresistible force against a by now very movable object and when Blues crashed over en masse, the player at the bottom with the ball and the try was Gareth Williams.

That secured the bonus point and Robinson's excellent goalkicking brought him 20 points with four penalties and four conversions. Perpignan in France in round two is going to be a different kettle of poisson.

Cardiff: R Williams (capt); C Czekaj, J Robinson, M Stcherbina (T Davies, 80), C Morgan; N Robinson, M Phillips (R Powell, 74); J Yapp, G Williams, M Jones, C Quinnell, R Sidoli (D Jones, 73), R Sowden Taylor (K Shubert, 76), A Powell, M Williams.

Leeds: T Stimpson; A Snyman, R Vickerman, C Jones, T Biggs; G Ross (R de Marigny, 65), J Marshall (capt; D Care, 75); G Kerr, R Rawlinson (G Bulloch, 64), R Gerber (J Isaacson, 55), S Morgan, T Palmer, N Thomas (D Hyde, 61), J Crane, R Parks.

Referee: R Dickson (Scotland).

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links