Attitude change pays off against Welsh

Glasgow Caledonians..... 26 Caerphilly .... 11

Facing an 11-6 deficit against the bottom side in the Celtic League on home soil, yesterday's game at Stirling's Bridgehaugh had become more a question of manhood than of rugby ability.

That, at least, is how coach Richie Dixon saw it for the Reds as he repeated, after the game, the message he had spelt out to his players during the interval.

''When you play teams like Caerphilly it is not the technical things that matter, it is what is inside you,'' he said.

''If we are going to start winning games like we did today, then really you have to examine yourself as a man and take them on physically.

''We know we are superior to these sides in technical terms, but you can't play fancy games unless you set the platform.

''I felt that in the first half it was very stop-start and we never really got the game going, but in the second half they came out knowing exactly what we want from them.''

After the break the Reds came out looking infinitely sharper, and scored their first try within a minute of the re-start.

From that point on it never seemed likely that they would be beaten, although their passage was at no stage comfortable.

That first try and the game's last were both straightforward affairs as the pack drove over from lineouts, Jason White claiming the first try and fellow flanker Donald MacFadyen the second.

In between times, Fraser Stott claimed the other try as a result of some fine work by Gareth Flockhart, a player who is at last producing real consistency of performance this season.

Stott appeared to have taken a wrong option as he headed down the blindside, having only Flockhart in support and faced by four defenders. However, it was the No.8 who took the ball into the contact before off-loading slickly to put his scrum half in.

The tone for the first half had perhaps been set as early as the eighth minute when, following a punch-up involving several forwards from both sides, rival props Alan Watt and Mike Wilson both found themselves spending 10 minutes in the sin bin for having sparked things off.

Re-shuffles to both packs were required and play was pretty shapeless for most of the half as Tommy Hayes and his opposite number Chris John exchanged penalties.

Perhaps the best thing that happened to the home side, though, was the injury time try their opponents scored.

It was a relatively tame affair, full-back Ed Griffiths, Caerphilly's most enterprising back throughout, breaking a couple of tackles rather too easily in making progress down the left touchline.

Hooker Justin Hughes took it on, then fed fellow front-row man Wilson who was well held up over the line by Hayes, but the stand-off couldn't prevent flanker Chris Brown from ripping the ball away to score in the corner.

Though the prospect of next weekend's Hughenden meeting with Cardiff is a more daunting one, following their heavy defeat of Edinburgh Reivers last Friday, Dixon believes their approach will suit his side better.

''This was chalk and cheese compared with last Friday's win over Llanelli when we had two teams out there who were hell bent on playing rugby,'' he noted.

''Caerphilly know their strengths and weaknesses and you can't blame them for playing the way they want to play. We have to rise above that and to do that we have to combat their best efforts to impose ourselves upon the game.

''You have to grind out wins. That is league rugby,'' he said. ''We can go on about entertaining, but the main thing is winning matches.''

Glasgow Caledonians - B Irving; J Craig, J Stuart, I Jardine (G Beveridge 80 min), A Bulloch (I McInroy 77); T Hayes, F Stott; A Watt (Anderson 61), G Scott, G McIlwham, S Campbell, D Burns (W Anderson 8-18), J White, D MacFadyen, G Flockhart.

Caerphilly - E Griffiths; C Batsford (P Phillips 74), C Murphy, A Palfrey, S Marshall; C John, C Bridges; M Bilton, J Hughes, M Wilson (A Jones 60), N Jones, J Lougher (D Niblo 66), G Jones, C Brown, A Davies (P Ager 77).

Referee: J Yuille (Biggar)

Scoring sequence (Caledonians first): 0-3, 3-3, 6-3, 6-6, 6-11 (half-time) 11-11, 18-11, 21-11, 26-11.

Scorers: Glasgow Caledonians -Tries - White (41), Stott (49), MacFadyen (77); Conversions - Hayes (49); Penalties - Hayes (17, 23, 74).

Caerphilly - Try - Brown (40); Penalties - John (11, 31).