Gloucester
Olly Morgan;
Iain Balshaw, Mike Tindall (capt), Olly Barkley, James Simpson-Daniel,
Ryan Lamb, Gareth Cooper;
Alasdair Dickinson, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto,
Marco Bortolami, Alex Brown,
Peter Buxton, Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway.
Reps: Scott Lawson, Jack Forster, Adam Eustace, Andy Hazell,
Rory Lawson, Willie Walker, Lesley Vainikolo.
Sin-Bin - Ollie Morgan

Tries - Balshaw (2), Morgan
Conversion - Barkley (3)
Penalties - Barkley

Referee - A. Rolland (Ireland)
Attendance - 24,114

Last Heineken Cup Clash
MATCH REPORT
Cardiff Arms Park - Saturday 11 December 2004
Cardiff 16 Gloucester 23
Reports - GLOUCESTER Matches 2008-9
Heineken Cup Record

Too many costly mistakes
Gloucester suffer Blues in Cardiff
Millennium Stadium -Sunday 19 October 2008
Cardiff 37 Gloucester 24

MISTAKES COST MATCHES IS AN OLD MAXIM but it still rings true, especially after Gloucester’s disastrous defeat at Cardiff where the home side were gifted chances in their bonus-point win.
Ultimately it makes this season’s Heineken Cup campaign look very much like another episode of mission impossible with qualification for the final rounds most unlikely.
It may be early for Christmas presents but this match was very much given away by the charitable Cherry and Whites’ defence, as a dreadful opening ten minutes saw the home side 10 points in front.
However having fought back to take the lead, Gloucester then imploded in the final minutes of the first half leaking a further 14 points in a matter of two or three minutes, which ultimately decided the outcome of the match.
To concede 27 points in the first half is almost criminal, no wonder Gloucester continue to disappoint with a defence that continues to leak like a colander.
Gloucester did suffer from disruptive injuries to key players during the game but that is no excuse for the many missed first-up tackles which preceded the departure of Ryan Lamb.
Too often Gloucester lacked direction in attack and has all too often been the case this season lost out on the aerial ping-pong, when playing more directly with ball in hand seemed a more profitable tactic than poor kicking.
Cardiff had scored their first try almost before many had settled in their seats as winger Leigh Halfpenny went through full back Olly Morgan all too easily. Ben Blair converted and then added a penalty to put the Welsh side firmly in charge.
A well struck penalty from Olly Barkley was cancelled out by another Blair effort as Bucko conceded his usual penalty but at last Gloucester’s pack began to pull itself together.
Olly Morgan made amends for his earlier mistake with a well taken try, courtesy of Iain Balshaw who then crossed after a great effort by the Gloucester pack pushed the Cardiff scrum off their own ball allowing Luke Narraway the straight-forward job of putting Balshaw in at the corner. Barkley converted from the touchline and Gloucester were right back in contention with a 17-13 lead.
Cardiff had been fortunate not to lose players to the sin-bin for deliberate infringements and obstructing Gareth Cooper illegally when a Gloucester score seemed a certainty but referee Alan Rolland merely penalised the offence.
Then it all went horribly wrong for the visitors. Ryan Lamb was forced to leave the field with an injury to be surprisingly replaced by Lesley Vainikolo rather than Willie Walker, with Barkley moving to fly-half, a decision which must still haunt Dean Ryan and his coaching staff.
An ill-advised speculative tap pass from Barkley went straight to Halfpenny who gratefully accepted the unexpected gift and ran in from the halfway line unopposed.
Not content with that, Cardiff’s Blair was allowed room to counter attack and run the ball back from deep in his own half through a spacious mid-field gap, step Ollie Azam, before Jamie Robinson shredded what was left of Gloucester’s shaky defence for Gareth Thomas to score under the posts. Blair’s conversion was a formality. 14 points in just two minutes. 27-17.
After the break Gloucester did up their game for a while as Mike Tindall made ground before Big Les worked the blind side for Balshaw to score his second try. Barkley’s conversion closed the gap. 27-24.
However Gloucester were unable to continue to raise their game and once again their defence was found lacking as the impressive Cardiff number eight Andy Powell set up Nicky Robinson to do the damage with a bonus-point converted try, followed by another Blair penalty.
Ollie Azam was harshly binned and although there was just enough time for a final Gloucester effort when James Simpson-Daniel was illegally checked in diving on the ball from a well judged Willie Walker kick ahead. The referee determined a knock-on.
It was that sort of day, some good things from Gloucester but outweighed by far too many damaging mistakes that gave the hosts maximum points.
The benefit of hind-sight is a wonderful thing—quite why pedestrian Bucko starts in front of Hazell with such a fragile defence is still a wonder. Walker at 10 to replace Lamb seemed the logical move at the time and still does post-match – the decision not to seems a classic tactical blunder.
With the silly season of the unloved EDF matches upon us, to be followed by the Autumn international, Gloucester need to regroup to get their stuttering season back on track.
Late leg injuries to Olly Morgan and Luke Narraway, in addition to Ryan Lamb are another worry before the next Premiership fixture against Saracens.
Well beaten, the Cherry and Whites had nothing to show from their trip to Cardiff other than a handful of worrying injuries to key players and mounting doubts over current form and suspect tactics.
Much to be done and not too much time to do it.
T.H. 20/10/2008

Pricey's Postscript
Another extremely disappointing display and result which will make quarter final qualification in this year's Heineken Cup very difficult.
Disappointed I may be, but surprised I am not and the reason is that we are not playing very much rugby. For long periods of the first half we were content to kick, as we have seen all season, relying it seemed on Cardiff making mistakes for Gloucester to exploit.
To a degree it worked but reliance on such a system is not to make mistakes yourself and sadly that is where Gloucester failed. Whereas the aim should have been to consolidate the good "bits" of the first half (and "bits" they were) Gloucester had a mad last five minutes when they leaked two more tries and went in 10 points down.
That score line was continually repeating itself throughout the match.
Much was expected this week and indeed the players were echo chambers of Dean Ryan who proclaimed a new found maturity and patience which, we were told was the secret of the success against Biarritz. I thought that Biarritz were mediocre at best and perhaps today's result gives that belief some justification.
Cardiff were efficient but they are no more potential Heineken Cup Winners as we are. They took the opportunity to accept with alacrity three gifted tries on top of a fourth that clealy demonstrated the flakiness of the 2008/9 defence.
Dean Ryan said in the week that Gloucester play a different style of rugby to anyone else.
Methinks that statement will not be challenged; not because that style can't be emulated but more that nobody would want to even try.
J.G.Price - 19/10/2008