Tuesday, 9 July 2013 00:00
The weekend produced some scintillating rugby and there were plenty of lessons for all of us to learn.
The RC/SPC game provided its fair share of spills and thrills. The Peterite front row was pathetic at best and was often penalised for incorrect binding. I am advised that the change was forced as the regular props were not available. This is quite a risk to play guys in such positions without adequate practice and serious injury could result.
The Royal rolling maul was a treat to watch and on every occasion that they were awarded a penalty for a collapsed scrum, they opted for a line out and the resulting maul ended in try. The RC dominance was so great that the Petes resorted to wilfully collapsing of the rolling maul on several occasions and they eventually conceded a penalty try – seven points gifted. This was one of the few decisions that the referee got right.
At the end of full time with the scores locked at 27 each, and one wondered if it would have been a better option to have permitted the Royalists to score a try at the far corner with a difficult conversion to follow as opposed to the penalty try – definitely food for thought for the players and the think tank.
The Petes spun the ball wide and on most occasions and found the RC defence wanting. It was indeed a long time ago that I witnessed a school game go into extra time and be decided by the fortunes of the boot.
With light fading, the officials should have speeded up the proceedings as opposed to letting things simple meander along. With the rules of the game not clear to many, the bulk of the spectators were left to ponder as to what happens next, and an announcement via the PA system would have added more excitement amongst the vast crowd at the game.
In the final analysis the Petes must be congratulated for weathering a massive onslaught by the RC forwards. Both teams had their moments to seal the game in regular play time but fluffed many opportunities.
The third and final test between the British and Irish Lions and the Wallabies was worked off on Saturday. The Wallabies started off badly with confusions between Genia and Douglas as who will field the kick off and a knock on was the result. The resultant scrum was won by the Lions and they rarely looked back as they had the first score within a few minutes of the start of the game.
The Wallabies threatened briefly at the start of the second half and once the Lions had weathered that storm the flood gates were literally open. The Wallabies will need to look for a genuine #10 against the teams in the Rugby Championships that starts next month. Gatland’s bold move to revamp the side paid dividends and he is a very happy man having finally mastered the art of beating the Wallabies.
A number of heads may roll as the ARU will dig deep to finds answers to this debacle and loads of Aussie supporters must still be ruing the missed kick by Beale in the first test. The Aussie front row was poor and after some time it was evident that they were dreading the thought of another set piece. Whether Robbie Deans will be in charge to make these changes is a matter of conjecture at this point in time.
Halfpenny’s kicking prowess throughout the entire tour cannot go without comment and it is indeed a remarkable effort. The success rate was so high that the Wallabies could not afford to give away a penalty anywhere close to the halfway mark as he would calmly slot it over, and this had an effect on the Wallabies style of play.
All in all a thoroughly professional performance by the Lions and their drought has ended. For the Wallabies it was a case of missed opportunities coupled with some injuries to key players.
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