The Havies are having one of their best seasons after some years thanks to some infusion of new talent to the playing squad, coaching staff and not least upgrading of the previous dilapidated facilities. Their style of play has been more assured and should I dare say that there is a sense of self belief that they can compete and win at the top level once again. On Friday the Havies brought all these to the fore in a fine display against arch rivals, CR.
Within a short period they had touched down thrice as a result of some decisive running, ball retention in the tackle situation, clever off loading and some excellent forwards support. CR on the other hand was a poor resemblance of the once mighty red shirts and lacked cohesion and a will to win. Their defence was poor and there too many holes after two or three phases of Havies play added to the jersey tugging as opposed to tackling they failed to bring their man down. HSC could have easily posted a larger score had they not eased off in the last quarter with several members of the bench getting to be part of the winning team. For a CR / Havies game, the overall quality of rugby was poor, the crowd support was pathetic and one wonders if this is the new era of club rugby with poor crowds. Many former rugby stalwarts of both clubs were there to witness the match and whilst they will all agree that HSC deserved to win on the day, as a game there was hardly any contest. The two expats of HSC are obviously value for money and the think tank must be congratulated in their choice of players and giving them the environment to express themselves. My player of the day for the # 6 of HSC for the turnover ball that he won by staying on his feet and being in thick of things – obviously his work rate is quite high and needs to be managed well.
Nowadays no game is complete without its fair share of referee bloopers and this game was no exception. I spotted the CR flanker and the # 8 not being bound on several occasions at scrum time and the tackle by a HSC player when the man was in the air all went unpunished. It is usual to see in certain instances, forward passes going unnoticed but, when a legitimate pass is called forward one gets the feeling that we need to take hard look those that control the game for us.
Unless you have been in solitary confinement for the past week or so you would have known that the much anticipated second leg of the Bradby shield game was held in Pallekelle over the weekend. This time round the organisers had got most things right starting with the teams being introduced to the Chief Guest, the moment of silence being observed for those who have gone before us and adequate seating arrangements. For all the Royalists who braved the torrid traffic congestion before the game, they may have thought that is was worth their while after almost 70 minutes of play. Thereafter TC simply roared loudly in their den and I am sure that it would have been heard from afar. In all fairness, RC had the better of the exchanges for most parts of the game, but did not convert the possession and territorial advantage into adequate points; in fact their game was similar to what they deployed against SPC, with a barrage of forwards play and then spinning the ball out wide. TC defence held firm and on a number of occasions RC lost the ball upon contact. The last two scores by TC was simple champagne rugby and the little pocket dynamo as full back provided them with the extra impetus that was required when they needed it the most. For a guy his size he does pack a punch and with ball in hand is a delight to watch. His mind appears to be clear and decisive, with deep raking runs, clever off loads and then being there at the end to continue the momentum when required. He would most probably be a good poker player, given his facial expressions with ball in hand. I would have him as my player of the day and would actually be tempted to slot him at # 9.
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