Friday, 25 April 2014 04:55
The school season is back after the extended holidays. The game that’s up for grabs is a big one as Pathana takes on unbeaten Trinity. We have not seen Trinity play in Colombo and this will be their first outing.
Having watched Trinity courtesy of YouTube and not live, it is apparent that the two teams are playing very different styles of rugby. Pathana as customary plays a hustle and bustle game with some hard bone crunching tackles in addition to a liberal dose of spoiling rugby. I do not say it in a bad sense but given an opportunity they are great spoilers. Into the mix you need to add that they have shown glimpses of individual brilliance be it with ball in hand or executing something outrageous as starting off with a move from their own goal line.
Whilst many will argue that Pathana plays a degree of high risk rugby there is no denying the fact that they play to entertain and they play to win. In the bargain you are bound to see some defensive lapses and at timed these are termed as basic.
On the other hand we have TCK, who play reasonably prim and proper rugby. They depend mainly on getting the basics right on a regular basis. They would kick for touch when within their own 22 and mount an all out attack over a period of phases of good ball. They too have their moments of individual brilliance as with all other teams, but these are not common place. Against this background the clash is bound to be an interesting battle and the team that is willing to experiment, cash in quickly on mistakes of the opponents and demonstrate a willingness to run the ball wide will have a better chance to put points on the board.
Possession vs. pressure
In a recent Super Rugby game, the statistics pointed to team ‘A’, having more possession, more turnover ball and a greater time spent in the opposition 22. However it was team ‘B’ that triumphed as they were able to convert pressure, possession and territorial advantage to points. We have seen similar situations in school rugby this season and I am sure that the coaching staff are well aware of this statistic. Raw talent can be harnessed and channelled but eventually the individual must make the cut and take real time decisions in the field of play to ensure points on the board.
It all points to one great battle in store for the rugby enthusiasts. The match officials too should play their part in this scheme of things. As of now we see too many stoppages, due to several repeated infringements and cases where the referee believes that he must stamp his authority when not actually required. We need to emulate some of the overseas referees, who interpret the advantage rule well and team captains are placed on notice for repeated infringements and the next person to infringe is yellow carded.
Let’s hope that we witness a good game in all respects.
(The writer can be reached via email@example.com)