Can the Tuskers bounce back?

Friday, 1 November 2013 04:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The final game in the local Tri Nation tournament will see the Lankan Tuskers taken on Poland. Whilst little was known about Madagascar and Poland before the games, we have been treated to some pretty decent rugby by Madagascar. Focus on bench strength The Tuskers are missing some of the stalwarts and whilst this is no excuse for their poor performance last week, I am sure that it had an impact. The quality of the Tuskers bench strength will now be the focus of attention. In the last game, one cannot fathom the reasoning behind the decision to play a hooker as a prop forward. It is fraught with risk and when he had to be replaced due to injury, we had to call upon the services of the # 8 to throw the ball in at the line out. Such changes to pivotal and specialist positions can harm the balance of any team, and the resultant chaos in defence was plain to see. If the Tuskers are to make a mark, they must improve upon their ball handling skills, be sharper in attack, retaining the ball over several phases of play before going for the kill. Our defence was also not up to scratch and missed tackles added to our woes. A tighter all round game is the need of the hour. Resumption of international rugby This weekend will also see the resumption of international rugby. The mighty All Blacks will take on Asian heavy weights Japan in Tokyo whilst the work in progress Wallabies will take on England at Twickenham. Japan has progressed in leaps and bounds over the years with a steady influx of players from the Southern Hemisphere plying their wares in Japan. The All Blacks will look at this game as an opportunity to blood a further set of new players ahead of the games against France, England and Ireland. In the past few weeks they have shown the quality and depth of their bench strength as all those who have been inducted into the starting line up have given a good account of themselves, so much so that the selectors are now spoilt for choice. This is a luxury that only the All Blacks are enjoying at the moment and the other teams can only dream of. The All Blacks should be able to win quite easily and the coaching staff may opt for new combinations and ploys before the onset of the bigger games. Law changes The Wallabies will up against England and the Lions tour defeat is still fresh in the minds of the Wallabies. Many of them have spoken of wanting to set the record straight and turn in a better individual performance as well as a collective team performance. The scrums are bound be an area that will be in sharp focus after the recent changes to the law. Most international teams are yet to get to grips with the law changes and the opportunities that such changes bring into the game. More often than not, in the recent weeks, it has been looked as an attacking option, the only issue being the fact that the opposition now is aware of the exact timing of the ball being put into the scrum. The referee is now mandated to call now # 9 and that is a dead giveaway, as the opposition can push in a concerted manner. Injury worries Ahead of the Test England have their share of injury worries. Prop Alex Corbisiero has been ruled out of game because of the knee injury that he sustained a fortnight ago. England coach Stuart Lancaster, was quick to point out that “he’ll be a big miss. You saw the quality of his performances against Australia for the Lions coming on the back of an Argentina tour”. Mako Vunipola has improved this year with the new scrumming laws and Joe Marler was the pick of their forwards in Argentina. Lancaster believes that they are very strong in that position. (The writer can be reached via [email protected])

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