This weekend will see two important games being played at school and club level. On the school front although the league is over and with Trinity being crowned the champs, they will have another go at Royal in the second leg of the Bradby Shield to be worked off in the hills. The other game at club level will be the traditional CR/Havies encounter at Longdon Place. This will be played for the Matthysz Trophy.
Despite the loss by Royal in the first leg of the Bradby, there is a school of thought that it was simply an aberration and that Royal will turn tables in Kandy. However going by last week’s performance by Royal against Pathana, it will be a pretty herculean task, and the margin of victory that is required to lift the trophy is not small. Having said that, stranger things have happened in rugby, and last year’s second leg of the Bradby was a point in question as Trinity stormed all over Royal. To my mind, Royal can only succeed if they take a hard look at their defence tactics as time and again opposing teams have utilised the large gaping holes. They also need to get out of the standard ploy of the big forward trying to make inroads in a forwards rush. At least for the sake of variety, they may need to look at different guys to execute this move, and even vary the angle of the run. In the first round Trinity played a rather open and expansive game, and whether they would resort to the same strategy that paid them rich dividends is open for conjecture. Incidentally Trinity’s only loss was at the hands of SPC who finished in the fourth slot this year. Once again SPC had proved that they are reliant on a few key players to see them through when the chips are down. The loss of their skipper through injury for most of the season did not help either.
Over the years the importance of the CR/Havies game has diminished probably due to the rather lacklustre performance of the Havies. Last year Havies made a name for themselves as they played a different brand of rugby. This year too they have the services of expatriate players and an expat coach for good measure. Havies is captained by a former CR player, and the fact that the current coach was associated with CR previously makes this encounter even more intriguing. CR have sourced the services of their former skipper and nippy scrumhalf and his stint as the assistant coach with the national side last year has held him in good stead. Thus we are in for some good rugby to go with the rich traditions that these two wonderful clubs enjoy.
It is indeed a pity that we do not see the crowds that are normally prevalent at school games at club matches as well. It could be that barring a few clubs a number of them are just making up the numbers in the league. With the introduction of the rule that all clubs could field two expatriate players, we are bound to see some more intense competition. But then there is only so much that two expat players can do. All team members must contribute. A case in point is the Police team. There are two expats in their ranks, but their efforts are in vain when all the others do not row in unison. Further the mere inclusion of expats will not lift the quality of the game of a side. Those expats must be of acceptable quality themselves, and be willing to guide and nurture those around them, to greater heights, especially in the Service teams as a number of them may not have taken up to the game at a young age.
As the international rugby tests are now over, we will see the resumption of the Super Rugby schedule and some mouth watering games are on this weekend.
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