Williams badgers Leeds to distraction
Cardiff Blues 40 Leeds 13
Sunday 23 October 2005
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).
Mayweather-Pacquiao: Ricky Hatton, Mike Tyson, Ronda Rousey and more make their predictions
Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and still qualify for the Champions League
Kyle Walker video: Tottenham defender categorically denies 'disgusting' rumours on Facebook
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia