Tuesday, 27 January 2015 00:00
Without doubt the CR/Havies game was expected to be the showpiece of the weekend. As far as one can recall, the game has traditionally been played on a Saturday, permitting the social activities to follow after the game. However, over the last few years the game has failed to draw the anticipated crowds and this year was no exception and the quality of rugby on display together with the refereeing is best forgotten.
As in the first round encounter, the CR/Havies clash appears to bring out the best of CR and they appeared to be in with a firm game plan, which they executed well for most parts. They were quick and decisive in their decision making process and the two tries that they scored was a result of the same. The two expatriate players combined well with the other members of the team and were solid both in attack and defence.
The decision of Havies to kick deep into CR territory had limited success as the CR three quarters read the game well and anticipated the move. CR appeared to be fired up and went into the match with a five point lead that they carried forward from the first game as this was also serving as the traditional encounter for the Matthysz trophy. Thus CR exploited this psychological advantage well and Havies almost fell into the trap of wanting to win the game with the required margin as opposed to simply winning the league game.
Both sides were guilty of hands in the ruck and not releasing the ball when they did not support their own body weight, coupled with incorrect binding which went unnoticed by the man with the whistle on many occasions. The fact that the two assistant referees did nothing has now come to be a standard feature as opposed to being an exception. This added to the confusion and wrath of the spectators and the frustration of the players were plain to see.
Havies were slow off the mark again and lack the killer instinct to finish off a move and close out a game. After taking a slender lead with the last 15 minutes to play, it would have been prudent to play the game in the opposition half, instead of which they tried out a fancy long range pass which was intercepted by the opposition.
Similar immature decision making was prevalent in their game against Kandy, and despite that loss, they appear not to have learnt their lesson. They boast of a fine set of three quarters but their inability to score is indicative of more individualistic play as opposed to being there for each other. The impact of the two expatriate players of Havies has been minimal this year and the question that arises is if it has been money well spent. The fact Havies are not a force to be reckoned with provides the answer.
Whilst the final score would indicate that the game was close, and was a thriller, it was quite the opposite with frequent stoppages of play for many infringements and the referee’s inability to communicate with the players and have the game flowing smoothly.
Kandy and Navy consolidated their position at the top of the table with clinical performances and the items that caught the attention of many was that Air Force also made merry against a hapless Sharks outfit. It will not be surprising if they too bow out next year as was the case with the Lions this year.
Rugby has become a very costly sport in the club circuit, but despite the money spent the return on investment is poor. We may soon see the sport fade as except for four or five teams, the others are struggling to make any form of impact.
(The writer can be reached via [email protected])