Cardiff too strong for Glasgow
April 21, 2000
Cardiff moved five points clear at the Welsh-Scottish League summit by sinking Glasgow in an Arms Park mudbath, 42-21.
The Cardiff backs skated across a disgraceful playing surface, two thirds of which was covered in water just before kick-off.
However, referee David Davies allowed the game to go ahead, although that would probably not have been the case had Glasgow not travelled so far to fulfil this Good Friday fixture.
Wing Craig Morgan scored two tries his second touchdown just 34 seconds into the second half killing off all hope of a Caledonians comeback from 23-13 adrift as David Young's team took command.
Glasgow, despite fielding nine internationals and leading after 19 minutes through two Tommy Hayes penalties, had no answer to Cardiff's superior forward technique and three-quarter invention.
Cardiff coach Lynn Howells issued a public apology in the match programme for his side's abject Heineken Cup quarter-final display at Llanelli last weekend, and while Europe might have proved an ambition too far, domestic league honours are virtually guaranteed.
Cardiff are within touching distance of collecting the trophy, and next Saturday's home clash against second placed Ebbw Vale assumes huge importance.
Glasgow, nine places and 22 points below Cardiff, had their moments, notably two tries by Scotland's international player of the season Glenn Metcalfe, yet finished a distant second best.
Caledonians skipper Andy Nicol, who would have found conditions familiar following the Murrayfield monsoon that greeted England three weeks ago, snapped away at his forwards' heels, yet his opposite number Rob Howley enjoyed a far more comfortable afternoon.
Howley ensured a comfortable Cardiff victory with their penultimate try midway through the second period, and substitute Liam Botham rounded things off four minutes into injury time after fellow replacement Neil Jenkins sent him clear.
Fortunately, the rain relented early on referee Davies would have had little option but to abandon proceedings had it not and Cardiff were quickly into their stride.
Morgan and centre Gareth Thomas scored tries during a damaging three-minute spell, and with fly-half Paul Burke kicking well, Cardiff were soon keeping the scoreboard operator busy.
Metcalfe kept Glasgow in contention through a try nine minutes before the break, but the visitors never remotely threatened a shock win.
Burke finished with 17 points from four conversions and three penalties, yet didn't finish the game, having been ludicrously sin-binned by Davies for killing possession.
Burke's enforced departure nine minutes from time was the result of a referee who showed little understanding for desperate conditions that both sides did their utmost to conquer.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column