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Mike Rayer with BBC Wales' Nick Webb
"Thank God we had Gareth Thomas"
 real 14k

banner Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 20:07 GMT 21:07 UK
Rayer a winner in final game
Owain Williams crosses despite the attentions of Caerphilly's David Hawkins
Owain Williams: Last match for Cardiff?
Cardiff 43-20 Caerphilly

Mike Rayer ended his 369th and final game for Cardiff full of praise for the youngsters he is set to coach next season.

Rayer is favourite to take over Cardiff's successful under-21 side and ended Thursday's match with his final six points for the club - thanks to three conversions.

"I enjoyed the game although it was a bit patchy at times, but it was great to see some of the youngsters," he said.

"Most of them are actually from Cardiff and it is great for them to see former youth players Rhys Williams and Jamie Robinson already playing international rugby."

Mike Rayer walks out for the last time
Mike Rayer walks out for the last time
But it was centre Gareth Thomas who stole the show, with four tries on his farewell performance before he leaves for Bridgend.

Meanwhile Cardiff flanker Owain Williams - another try scorer - was keen to play down rumours that the match would be his last game before retirement.

He has yet to sign a new contract at the Arms Park, but may well carry on at the club next season.

Caerphilly took a sensational lead when Cardiff old boy Justin Thomas raced through after a fine long pass by fly-half Luke Richards, who duly converted.

But flanker Williams crossed from a tap penalty before Thomas ran in three in a row to end the first half.

Thomas, affectionately known as "Alfie", continued to show the Cardiff fans what they will be missing next year scoring his fourth from a pass by Jamie Robinson.

Cardiff hooker Damien Geraghty bursts through
Cardiff hooker Damien Geraghty bursts through
The 16-stone powerhouse had an eventful game.

The Arms Park echoed to cries of "No" when he attempted a drop-goal. Thomas is not renowned for his kicking.

Robinson's younger brother Nicky also came on and scored a conversion.

But Caerphilly were in no mood to be generous party guests all evening and their live-wire number eight, Andrew Williams, stormed through for his 11th try of the season.

But Cardiff's teenage flanker Robin Sowden-Taylor, touched down wide out, before Nick Robinson laid on a try for big brother Jamie to round things off.


Scorers - Cardiff: Tries: G Thomas 4, O Williams, R Sowden-Taylor, J Robinson. Cons: M Rayer 3, N Robinson.

Caerphilly: Tries: J Thomas, A Williams. Con: L Richards 2, Pen: L Richards 2.

Teams

Cardiff: R Williams; N Walne, J Robinson, G Thomas, E Jones; M Rayer (capt), R Powell; A Lewis, D Geraghty, G Powell, C Quinnell, J Tait, G Kacala, E Lewis, O Williams.
Replacements: N Robinson, L Davies, K Ellis, R Sowden-Taylor, S Moore, I Jones, G Woods.

Caerphilly: J Thomas; S Marshall, D Hawkins, R Boobyer, G Lewis; L Richards, A Jacobs; A Jones, J Hughes, G Thomas, M Workman, N Jones (capt), B Watkins, A Williams, G Jones.
Replacements: J Hooper, C John, K Hocking, N Watkins, C Fitzpatrick, M Bolton, M Wilson.

Referee : Phil Fear (Llanharan)

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